This month, when we think of hearts we usually think of Valentine’s Day. But in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed February American Heart Month. His proclamation was backed by Congress so that February is annually designated American Heart Month. President Johnson did this because, at the time, more than half of the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease.
Today, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S., equating to about 610,000 deaths every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). That’s one in every four.
American Heart Month was designated to help people remember how important it is to take care of their health. The American Heart Association calls it a way to remind Americans to focus on their hearts and encourage them to get their families, friends, and communities involved.
Heart disease often can be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.
The CDC has recommendations for changes in your lifestyle that can make a big difference.
- Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health
- Add exercise to your daily routine
- Increase healthy eating, and include at least three heart-healthy meals in your diet each week
- Quit smoking
- Take medication as prescribed
For many of us, hearing that we should eat healthy and exercise more has become repetitive. That might be true, but taking charge and taking the initiative to alter your food and fitness habits will pay off in the long run for you and your loved ones who want you around.
Let’s take these recommendations to heart and make changes! One day maybe we won’t need a designated month to remind us to take care of our hearts!