February is American Heart Month and also the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day. These calendar observations bring to mind a common theme…HEARTS!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts® – a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017 – are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, to make control their goal.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.
Some Staggering Statistics:
- People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.
- High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.
If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control:
- Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal
- Take your blood pressure medicine as directed and at the same time each day.
- Quit smoking – and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
- Reduce sodium intake.
Keeping your blood pressure levels in a healthy range usually involves taking medications, reducing sodium in the diet, getting daily physical activity, and quitting smoking.
Here are some helpful websites with many resources to learn more about what you can do to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
American Heart Association
Go Red for Women