February is American Heart month

Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Almost everyone knows someone who has suffered from heart disease or a stroke. As the leading cause of death in the United States, cardiovascular disease claims 2,200 lives every day. February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart health. Using these resources from USA.gov, you can get a head start on preventing heart disease:

In September 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services started the Million Hearts campaign, which aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by the end of year 2016. The campaign empowers Americans to make healthy choices and to improve the care of those who need treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers tips to help prevent heart attack and stroke. The most common heart ailment is coronary artery disease (CAD) which leads to heart attack. CAD is a narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. CAD can most easily be prevented with lifestyle changes, like consuming less salt, and staying away from secondhand smoke.

Heart disease is also the number one killer of women. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) The Heart Truth campaign focuses on women’s heart disease prevention and hopes to give women a wake up call about their risk of heart disease. Heart disease can build gradually, so even young women must know the signs and prevention tips so they can stop the process before it is too late.

Symptoms of heart disease include chest pain or discomfort, which can make your heart feel heavy, or as if someone is squeezing it. Shortness of breath, fatigue and general weakness are also signs. While many people do feel these symptoms, some people with heart disease won’t experience any of them. Doctors can also run certain tests before making a diagnosis.

For a full list of resources from the government on heart disease and heart health tips, USA.gov puts them all in one place for you. Learn what a heart attack really is, view a guide to healthy living, and order a packet of free publications to learn more.