February is heart health month

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States with roughly 600,000 deaths each year.1 It is not just one disease but can be many different types of heart and blood vessel problems. Many cardiovascular diseases are caused by atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is when "fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste, calcium and fibrin (a clotting material in the blood)"2 buildup in the inner lining of an artery, otherwise known as plaque. When plaque is present in the arteries it damages the endothelium lining. This damage can happen if someone has elevated levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood and/or hypertension (high blood pressure).2 With atherosclerosis the diameter of the artery will be reduced and blood circulation will lessen, which decreases the oxygen supply, or a thrombus (blood clot) may form. In either situation, a heart attack or stroke may occur. With both heart attacks and strokes, nutrition and physical activity play a big role. The American Heart Association has come up with the ABCs of prevention. The ABCs are "Avoid Tobacco, Become More Active and Choose Good Nutrition."3 These three tools can help prevent another heart attack or stroke.


  • "Avoid Tobacco: If you smoke after a heart attack, your chances of having a second one are doubled.

  • Become More Active: Regular physical activity will ease stress and depression, help control weight and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Choose Good Nutrition: Good nutrition will help control weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and help the body to heal faster."3


Not only is cardiovascular disease the number one killing disease in the United States, but it can be prevented. 600,000 people do not have to die each year from cardiovascular diseases. People do not have to rely just on medicine alone, but can become physically active and more conscientious of what they eat. With physical activity and nutrition, people can live a longer and normal life.


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*The information contained on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice provided by a physician or other health care professional. Readers are asked to consult other sources as well as to obtain direct consultation with a physician when making decisions about their health care. The statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease.