Traditionally the month for lovers and all things heart-related, because of St. Valentine’s Day on the 14th, the month of February is also designated as American Heart Month by the American Heart Association.
It serves as a good reminder for everyone to take care of their cardiovascular health.
The annual observance began in 1963 to encourage Americans to join the battle against heart disease. A presidential proclamation pays tribute each year to researchers, physicians, public health professionals and volunteers for their tireless efforts in preventing, treating and researching heart disease.
UHS joins hospitals, medical centers and healthcare systems around the country to celebrate the month, with the aim of raising public awareness about heart conditions. Whether it’s wearing red on Wear Red Day early in the month or encouraging people to talk with their doctors about hearth health as the month progresses, increased awareness is the goal.
A heart attack strikes someone in the United States about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a build-up of fat, cholesterol or plaque.
To do all that you can to prevent an attack, medical experts at UHS and the American Heart Association recommend the following:
- Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.
- If you smoke, quit (and if you don’t smoke, don’t start). Within just one year of quitting, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent.
- Start an exercise program. Walking just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Modify your family’s diet if needed. Check out healthy cooking and eating tips on the AHA’s website.
Heart Month is a great time to commit yourself to a healthy lifestyle and make the small changes along the way that can lead to a lifetime of heart health and wellness.
For more information on Heart and Vascular care available at UHS, go to nyuhs.org.
Members of the editorial and news staff of the USA TODAY Network were not involved in the creation of this content.