February is Heart Awareness Month
Heart disease and stroke are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the United States. Heart disease is responsible for 1 of every 4 deaths in the country. For some groups, such as African Americans, the burden is even greater. As a nation, we can—and must—change these numbers. The good news is that heart disease can be prevented, and February—Heart Awareness Month—is a great time to refresh your memory on the small but important actions you can take.
How can you reduce your risk? One way is to know your ABCS:
Talk to your health care provider and team to see if taking an aspirin each day is right for you.
B: Blood Pressure Control
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease. One in three American adults has high blood pressure—that’s about 70 million people. Unfortunately, less than half of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Work with your health care team to find out if you have high blood pressure. If you do, take steps to reduce it:
- Get active by exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol.
- Follow your health care provider's instructions when it comes to taking medicines or measuring your blood pressure at home.
High cholesterol affects 1 in 3 American adults. Getting a simple blood test is the only way you can know if have high cholesterol. Your doctor can suggest steps you can take to prevent high cholesterol or to reduce your levels if they are high.
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you're a smoker, quit as soon as possible, and if you don't smoke, don't start.
The ADRC of Dane County provides information about resources and support on all aspects of life related to aging or living with a disability and is a one-stop shop for older adults, people with disabilities and their families. ADRC staff are unbiased and knowledgeable professionals who listen to your concerns, help clarify your options and direct you to appropriate resources. The ADRC is also the access point for information about long-term care options and applying for public benefits. Services provided by the ADRC are free and available to all Dane County residents regardless of income or assets.
ADRC staff are available weekdays from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. by calling (608) 240-7400. Individuals can also send e-mail inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org, drop by our office on North Sherman Avenue or visit us at www.daneadrc.org. Home visits are available upon request.