February is National Heart Month

Saturday, January 30, 2021 1:22 PM | Anonymous

February is National Heart Month

By Kristen Nicolai

February 1, 2021

            February is National Heart Month. Every year the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute partners with The Heart Truthâ  to motivate Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle to prevent heart disease. This year, heart health has never been more important as those with poor cardiovascular health are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.[1]

            Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cardiovascular disease encompasses diseases that affect the heart or blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, which can cause stroke, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease.  In the United States more than 800,000 people die from cardiovascular disease every year.[2] About 15 million people have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease[3] and about 366,000 die from coronary heart disease each year.

Heart disease can cause heart attacks, but preventative measures can help lower one’s risk of developing heart disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, having prediabetes or diabetes, smoking, family history, no physical activity or unhealthy eating behaviors.[4]

The DASH diet or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan is the recommended heart-healthy diet as it lowers high blood pressure and the “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood. The DASH diet is abundant in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein-rich foods such as fish, lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and soy products, legumes, and oils or foods high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Sodium, saturated/trans fats, added sugars, and alcohol should be avoided. Other ways to lower risk of heart disease are regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and quitting smoking.

To encourage Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent heart disease, The Heart Truthâ  campaign provides support through the #OurHearts Movement. The movement encourages social support and personal networks to work on heart health.[5]

In addition, National Wear Red Day takes place annually on the first Friday in February to bring awareness to heart disease as the leading cause of death for Americans. People are encouraged to wear red to help bring more attention to the cause.

For more ways to take part in national heart month, visit https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month for additional resources including education materials, fact sheets, social media resources and more.

[1]  About American Heart Month: Ways to Get Involved | NHLBI, NIH. Accessed January 24, 2021. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/american-heart-month/about


[2] Know the Difference Fact Sheet | NHLBI, NIH. Accessed January 24, 2021. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/all-publications-and-resources/know-differences-cardiovascular-disease-heart-disease-coronary-heart-disease



[3] Heart-Healthy Living | NHLBI, NIH. Accessed January 24, 2021. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-living


[4] Heart-Healthy Living | NHLBI, NIH. Accessed January 24, 2021. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/heart-healthy-living


[5]   Join the #OurHearts Movement | NHLBI, NIH. Accessed January 24, 2021. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-truth/our-hearts

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