February Is Heart Health Month

February may be Cupid’s favorite month, as that little rascal shoots his arrows into lovers’ hearts! When he pulls back on his bow, he aims for all of the hearts to be healthy–so, let’s talk about Heart Health this month and become more aware of how to keep our hearts in good working order.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), national trends show a slower decline in heart deaths among adults, ages 35-64. That’s good news! Yet, the overall statistics are staggering. The American Heart Association (AHA) reports that 2,200 Americans die EVERY DAY of heart disease. That’s one death every 39 seconds! On average, someone in the United States suffers a heart attack every 40 seconds and stroke-related deaths occur approximately every four minutes.

In many regions of the United States, death rates are increasing, as are the rates of risk factors for heart disease. These risk factors include physical inactivity, high blood pressure and tobacco use. There are many other risk factors, and some can be modified, while others–such as age, family history and gender–cannot.

So, let’s make Cupid’s job a little easier and take control of our heart health! The key points to keeping your heart healthy are:

1. Make time to be active.

The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Walking, running, jogging, swimming, playing sports all help to increase your heart rate and provide exercise to the most important muscle in our body… yes, the heart!

2. Create a healthy eating habit.

Make sure that you include all of the food groups in your diet (in the proper portion size) daily. Eat more fruits and vegetables, lean meat, low-fat dairy products, whole grains and lower sodium foods.

3. Kick the tobacco habit for good.

Or, don’t start using tobacco products! More research is underway, but E-cigarettes/Vaping is NOT a viable option for tobacco. Stay away from those products as well. If you do use tobacco products, a helpful program to kick the habit is to call 1-800-QUIT Now (1-800-784-8669).

4. Know YOUR numbers.

Have your health care team check your Blood Pressure and Lipid (cholesterol/triglyceride) levels. Helpful Hint: Physical activity and a healthy diet can help you keep those numbers within a normal range. Want another Helpful Hint? Here it is: Physical activity and healthy diet promote optimal weight and dropping unwanted pounds and inches. Guess what?! That helps our hearts be healthy. BONUS!

You can find more information about heart health at the American Heart Association and the CDC, or join their Facebook page via Million Hearts. There is even a Twitter/Instagram hashtag for heart health with #HeartDisease!

Take control of your heart health and put a smile on Cupid’s face! Happy Heart Health Month!

Remember: The Hendricks Regional Health Wellness & Population Health Department’s Certified Health & Wellness Coaches (CHWC) are available to meet with you at the DePauw Faculty/Staff Wellness Center on Mondays from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. This is a FREE SERVICE provided for you, through the collaboration of DePauw University and Hendricks Regional Health. The coaches consist of two Registered Nurses, one Registered Dietitian and one Exercise Specialist.

To make an appointment, call 317-718-8160 or have one of the Wellness Center providers or staff send a referral for Wellness Coaching to the Hendricks Regional Health Wellness & Population Health Department.