Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program is recognizing February as American Heart Month. Heart disease can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and death. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women across the country and the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire.
One of the main risk factors for heart disease is high blood pressure. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure also costs the nation $47.5 billion annually in direct medical expenses and $3.5 billion each year in lost productivity. Both men and women can lower their risk of high blood pressure and heart disease by leading a healthy lifestyle.
"When it comes to lowering one’s risk for high blood pressure and heart disease," said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS, "it is so important for men and women to understand their risk and take more steps toward prevention." "According to the CDC, only about 47% of people with high blood pressure have it under control. There is much we can do to improve our health and decrease our chances for heart disease, and it’s time we all take a step toward better health."
Take these steps toward a healthier life and a healthier heart:
- Maintain a normal weight;
- Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days;
- Limit alcohol intake;
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables;
- Avoid tobacco; and
- Reduce salt;
- Know your ABCS:
- Aspirin – talk to a healthcare provider about whether you should take aspirin;
- Blood Pressure – have your blood pressure checked, talk to a healthcare provider re: how often;
- Cholesterol – have your cholesterol levels checked;
- Smoking Cessation; and
- Take control of your heart health by following your doctor’s instructions for medications and treatment.
For more information about heart disease, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org, the Million Hearts Campaign at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/heartdisease and the NH Heart Disease Stroke Prevention Program at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/hdsp.htm.