Love Your Heart

Overindulging in decadent chocolates, making reservations for fancy dinners, heightened attention toward a significant other, and gift-giving seem to be common occurrences every Feb. 14.

But many neglect themselves on this special day.

Refocusing on love for your heart this month could be the greatest Valentine’s Day gift you can give yourself.

February is American Heart Month, and this is the perfect time to give yours a closer look.

The first American Heart Month, which was February 1964, was proclaimed by former President Lyndon B. Johnson in late 1963. Since then, February has been known as a time to bring extra attention to cardiovascular health.

Cardiovascular disease has been the underlying cause of death for nearly 801,000 people in the United States in 2017, according to the American Heart Association. Breaking that statistic down even further, about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day – an average of one death every 40 seconds.

This disease kills more people each year than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined.

This isn’t only a problem in the United States. Worldwide, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death – with more than 17.3 million in 2013. That number is expected to continue rising.

Heart disease is the number one killer among women. It’s responsible for one in three deaths each year – approximately one woman every minute – according to the American Heart Association.Feb. 14 post iStock_000025322142_Large-cTo keep your heart healthy this month and in the months and years to come, prevention is key. Risk factors that

For example, eating a heart-healthy diet and becoming more physically active are two ways to help manage cholesterol. For those who are obese/overweight, setting realistic goals, understanding how much and why you eat, managing portion sizes, making smart choices, and being physically active are all ways to help manage weight. For additional ways to manage these risk factors and more, visit the American Heart Association website.

There are also risk factors that can’t be controlled, such as age, gender, heredity (family health history), race, and instances of previous stroke or heart attack.

While Feb. 14 is a time to treat your heart well emotionally, it’s also a good reminder to treat your heart well physically. Many hospitals offer heart screenings throughout the year to help give people a baseline of where they are and what they can do to either stay in a healthy range, or get closer to where they should be.

All that being said, enjoy a few pieces of chocolate today while also being more aware of your health. Love your heart today and every day!

Have you gotten a heart scan recently?


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