For some, February is a month to think about our loved ones as we gear up for Valentine’s Day. It can be a time to buy flowers, chocolates, perhaps even diamonds for those about to propose. But here at Sip & Savor, we’d like to mention that those heart-shaped cards and treats can provide us with another gentle reminder – February is American Heart Month. This is a month-long observance proclaimed each year by our president.
So while you are nibbling on your Valentine’s Day sweets – in moderation of course – take a moment to think about cardiovascular health. After all, did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability? That can seem quite scary, but remember there are risk factors that can’t be controlled, and those that can. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chances of developing heart disease.
What risk factors are beyond your control? According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, risk factors that you cannot change are age (55 or older for men; 65 or older for women), family history of early heart disease and family history of stroke.
But what heart disease and stroke risk factors can you control? Quite a few actually. These include: high blood pressure/hypertension, abnormal cholesterol, tobacco use, diabetes, overweight and physical activity.
Now you know the facts on heart disease … better go get your sweetheart a card before the shelves are picked over. Happy Valentine’s Day!