American Heart Month aims to improve cardiovascular health

| February 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Danielle Martin
U.S. Army Public Health Command (Provisional)



ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S.

Almost 2,300 Americans die every day from cardiovascular diseases; that is one person every 38 seconds.

Cardiovascular diseases claim more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents combined.

Every year, about 785,000 Americans have their first heart attack. Another 470,000 Americans, who have already had at least one heart attack, will have another one.

Because of these high statistics, February has been proclaimed as “American Heart Month,” since 1963. The American Heart Association, or AHA, leads this effort.

In 1999, the AHA set impact goals to reduce cardiovascular disease and risk by 25 percent by 2010. The 2010 goals were met, with a 27.8-percent decline in the cardiovascular death rate. However, statistics have also shown an increase of 27 percent in the total number of in-patient cardiovascular operations and procedures.

A new impact goal has been set for 2020. This goal is aimed at improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent, while reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease by 20 percent.

Steps can be taken to increase cardiovascular health by knowing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use within the past year and diets high in saturated fats, cholesterol, high salt and high sodium. Also, physical inactivity, obesity, excessive alcohol use and a family history of cardiovascular disease are risk factors.

Americans are urged to take steps to lower their risk of developing cardiovascular disease:

•Eat a healthy diet.

•Maintain a healthy weight.

•Exercise regularly.

•Quit smoking.

•Limit alcohol use.

•Have your cholesterol checked.

•Monitor your blood pressure.

•Manage your diabetes.

•Take your medicine.

•Talk with your health care provider.

The Tricare Assistance Program offers nonmedical, professional counseling via chat, phone or the Web. Licensed therapists are available to talk about issues, such as stress or relationship problems. These discussions are completely non-reportable, unless required by law, and are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit

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Category: Community, Health

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