February is American Heart Month.
Bethesda, Md (KM)> The leading cause of death for men and women in the United States is heart disease. That’s according to the National Institutes of Health, which also says one in four people in the US die of heart disease each year.
The agency also says 252,000 Maryland residents have hearth disease.
Dr. David Goff, Director, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of NIH, says heart disease is “preventable.” He says if you smoke, quit; and if you don’t smoke, don’t start.
Another way is to move around more often. “Thirty-minutes of activity on most days, the type of activity that gets your heart beating a little faster and gets you breathing a little faster. Something like brisk walking,” he says.
But the 30-minutes of activity each day doesn’t have to take place at one time. “And if it’s tough to find 30–minutes to block out for that, it’s okay to get a couple of ten to 15-minutes bouts during the day. That works just fine,” says Dr. Goff.
A third way to help beat heart disease is making changes in your diet. Dr. Goff recommends the DASH diet. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is high blood pressure. “The DASH diet emphasizes consumption of fruits and vegetables, of whole grains, of lean meats, and it really focuses on reducing consumption of salt and sugar, and the processed foods that contain a lot of salt and sugar, including sugar-sweetened beverages,” he says.
February is American Heart Month. During that time, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has started a national effort to encourage and motivate people to adopt health behaviors. People are encouraged to share their experiences on social media of what they, their friends and co-workers are doing to become more heart healthy. You can visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ourhearts for more information..
By Kevin McManus