February is American Heart Month, which gives each of us an opportunity to motivate our family, friends and students to make healthier decisions and take steps to prevent heart disease.
People with poor cardiovascular health are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. So, it’s even more important that we raise awareness about heart health issues in our communities.
Heart health statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for men, women and people of most racial and ethnic groups.
Here are some quick heart health facts specific to the U.S. that everyone should be aware of:
One person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease.
About 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year (that’s 1 in every 4 deaths).
About 11% of American adults have been diagnosed with heart disease (that’s 1 in every 9 adults).
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, such as exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and quitting tobacco products.
Ways to get involved
There are many ways to get involved in your community and spread important heart health messages.
Here are several simple ideas to raise awareness about heart health:
Share this month’s blogs that are all issues related to heart health. Post them to your social media or print them and hand them out to your students.
Give a free CPR class or host a compression-only demonstration and practice session in your community. Provide heart health fact sheets as handouts to participants.
Organize a walking group with friends, family and neighbors. Or create a walking schedule, so everyone can participate without being physically together.
Post heart-healthy recipes for your social media network to enjoy. Make recipes on your own or coordinate to have a virtual meal with multiple families cooking the same recipe at the same time.
Host a virtual Heart Health event for a local school or community center. Work with nearby fitness centers and healthcare businesses to promote the importance of preventing heart disease.
Additionally, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH) has put together this PDF for 25 ways to take part in Heart Month.
Stay tuned for more heart health blogs this month!