February is American Heart Month. There are many misconceptions regarding the information individuals know about cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among men and women ages 45 years and older. Nearly 95 million Americans have the most common risk factor which is high cholesterol levels. Even scarier, 45% of men and women are estimated to have cardiovascular disease by 2035. This means nearly half of the American population will have cardiovascular disease!
Though high cholesterol levels are the most common risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is not the only risk factor. Elevated blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, excessive alcohol use, tobacco use, high-fat, high sodium diets, genetics, family history, race, and ethnicity are other factors that increase the chances of men and women developing cardiovascular disease as well (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2019). You may not have control over your genetics, family history, race, and ethnicity but you do have control over your dietary consumption, alcohol intake, tobacco use, and daily physical activity levels. Incorporating more fresh fruits/vegetables and less red meat in your daily diet, participating in aerobic exercise activity at least 4-5 days per week, reducing alcohol intake, and eliminating tobacco use can greatly reduce your risk of advanced cardiovascular disease.
The infographic below lists 10 helpful tips for preventing your chances of cardiovascular disease. Be true to thine own heart and know your cardiovascular risk factors. February is a good month to visit your primary care health provider for an annual wellness physical and laboratory examination. Happy American Heart Month!
Ask Me? Dr. Smart, DNP™
Nurse Practitioner|Nurse Educator|Healthcare Consultant|Infopreneur