It’s never a bad time to check up on the ol’ ticker. Especially because February is Heart Health Month, we thought it might be wise to review some facts about heart fitness. After all, heart disease is the number one cause of death among Americans, causing a quarter of American deaths, according to the Heart Foundation. Because February is all about fighting this outcome, we want to take a closer look at the facts. Here are four things to know about heart disease this heart health month.
1. Heart disease kills slightly more men than women
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, men accounted for slightly more than half of the heart-related deaths. Although the precise reasons for this are somewhat mysterious, it is important to note the differences in how heart disease presents in men and women. In fact, heart attacks have been shown to present slightly differently in men and women. Be sure to look out for these warning signs so you can know how to react if heart disaster strikes.
2. “47% of Americans have at least one of three” leading risk factors for heart disease
According to the CDC, almost half of Americans have some combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a smoking habit. It is vital to fight these risk factors with everything we have. That can mean a change in diet (no more trans fats!), cutting back on the cigarettes, and relaxing more. Heart health always comes first!
3. Heart disease is an epidemic in the American South
With the notable exception of Florida, heart health has been put on the back burner in the American South. An infographic from the CDC shows that some of the highest rates of heart disease are found in Alabama, Mississippi, Appalachia, and Louisiana. According to Michael Casper, an epidemiologist at the CDC, these high rates could have everything to do with the southern lifestyle. “Socioeconomic conditions of a county can affect rates of smoking and obesity, or whether people have access to affordable, healthy food, for example,” he said.
4. Walking can be just as beneficial to your heart as running
Pedestrians rejoice! According to the American Heart Association, running and walking are virtually equivalent when it comes to heart health. “Walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running,” the article reads. Want to get heart healthy this February? Lace up those running shoes! Er, I mean, walking shoes!
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.