February is American Heart Month

Quit Smoking

American Heart Month (NIH)

American Heart Month began on February 1 with the National Wear Red Day that was observed here at Park Crescent and all over the United States by people wearing red to raise awareness about heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Coronary Heart Disease in the United States

According to the latest statistics, published January 31, 2019 by the American Heart Association (AHA) in their journal CIRCULATION, almost half of all American adults have some kind of cardiovascular disease that can lead to a stroke, heart attack or heart failure.

This new higher percentage is because of new guidelines determining what constitutes high blood pressure. The previous definition of high blood pressure was 140/90. However, the new definition defines anyone with 130/80 or more as having high blood pressure and so this increases the numbers of Americans believed to have some form of cardiovascular disease. The number of Americans now with high blood pressure is 116.4 million or 46%. High blood pressure (hypertension), often labelled the “silent killer’ because it usually does not cause any noticeable symptoms, can trigger a stroke, heart attack or lead to heart or kidney failure. Some research also suggests that high blood pressure may raise the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

By 2035 more than 130 million adult Americans or 45.1% of the population are projected to have some kind of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Direct medical costs are projected to reach $748.7 while indirect medical costs are estimated to climb to $386 billion.

Life’s Simple 7

The American Heart Association (AHA) promotes seven steps that can prevent cardiovascular disease called “Life’s Simple 7. These are:

  1. Avoiding excess weight
  2. Eating a heart healthy diet
  3. Not smoking
  4. Getting enough physical exercise
  5. Keeping blood pressure under control
  6. Managing cholesterol
  7. Keeping glucose (sugar) in balance in diabetes

Heart Healthy Recipes and Cookbooks

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has free cookbooks for download and offers many delicious heart healthy recipes and videos.

Tobacco Use is a Leading Cause of Preventable Death

Nicotine in tobacco leads to narrowing of arteries which in turn causes an increase in blood pressure and speeds up the heartbeat. This can lead to heart disease and heart attacks.

Smoking was responsible for 7.1 million deaths worldwide in 2016. Even though the rates for adult smokers has dropped in recent years, nonetheless, there has been a sharp increase in the numbers of teenagers using e-cigarettes.

According to the AHA, 1 in 6 males and 1 in 7 females smoke in the United States.

Obesity Epidemic is not Disappearing

According to the AHA, even though 1 in 5 (22.5%) adult Americans claim to be physically active, they are not losing weight. In fact, 39.6% of American adults and 18.5% of youth are obese. Severe obesity affects 7.7% of adults and 5.6% of youth.

Most Americans are Concerned about being Overweight and the Risk for Heart Disease

According to a report published February 4, 2019 by the Cleveland Clinic, 75% of Americans are concerned about being overweight and 65% are concerned that it could lead to heart disease. However, they are not doing enough to try to lose weight. Also, most people feel they have to lose a lot of weight, but according to Dr. Steven Nissen, losing 5% of body weight can lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and help to keep the heart healthy. He recommends losing weight slowly by eating fewer calories. He also recommends following the Mediterranean diet for good health.

Cardiac Rehabilitation and Post-Stroke

If you or your loved one are after a cardiovascular event like a stroke or heart attack, the Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey offers expert post-stroke and cardiac rehabilitation.


It certainly pays to take all the preventive steps possible to avoid having a cardiovascular event like a stroke or heart attack.

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