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American Heart Month: How Healthy is Your Heart?

Family eating healthy for American Heart Month

Did you know that February is American Heart Month? This is a very important public health event which helps to raise awareness of heart disease and maintaining a healthier heart. Heart disease has become a serious problem in the United States, and public health officials are encouraging more people to take notice. Have you considered how you could be taking better care of your heart? Why not give it a try this February.

Heart Disease is the Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

Currently, heart disease ranks as the leading cause of death in the country. Each and every year, this medical condition claims the lives of more than half a million Americans: this is a condition that could affect anyone in your life. There is a common misconception that heart disease is something that tends to affect more men than women, but recent research could change your views on the matter.

This particular disease actually kills more women than lung cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s combined. Incredibly, it is estimated that a woman in this country experiences a heart attack every 90 seconds (think about how many that is just since you began reading this post).

Developing Habits for a Healthier Heart

Fortunately, most of the primary risk factors for heart disease can be controlled or prevented completely. Such things like high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), lack of exercise, obesity, and smoking can all lead to an elevated risk of heart attack or stroke. Maintaining a healthier lifestyle could help reduce your risk of heart disease and drastically improve your heart health.

This American Heart Month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working with other public and private entities in order to help raise awareness of the risk for heart disease and developing more heart-healthy habits for Americans. Throughout the month, there will be a bunch of new heart disease research projects and health care programs unveiled. In fact, national initiatives, like Million Hearts, represent a country-wide effort to prevent more heart attacks and strokes in the near future through better education and awareness on a public level.

Spotlight on Women during American Heart Month 2013

This year, the American Heart Month campaign is going to be even more focused on women, as research has shown that more women are at risk for heart disease. Since the symptoms of heart disease are not as well recognized in women, physicians will often miss this diagnosis. This is why national initiatives like the Heart Truth and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! are so important. They are helping to provide crucial information on heart disease risk factors and developing heart-healthy habits for more women.

2013 will also see the launch of a new Spanish-language heart-healthy campaign as a part of American Heart Month. Health care officials have realized that many members of the Latina community may have not been reached in previous years, and they seek to change this. This new campaign should certainly help bring crucial information on heart disease to a much larger percentage of the Spanish speaking community. In addition, public health officials would like to encourage more women in these communities to not hesitate to dial 9-1-1 if anyone in their household is experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack.

Creating a Health Insurance Marketplace

When it comes to the health care landscape, the Affordable Care Act has come with a number of important changes. According to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, this is something that has become a top priority. In statement, she said, “We are working with states to create Health Insurance Marketplaces, where uninsured and underinsured Americans can compare affordable health plans based on price, benefits, quality, and other important features and choose one that best suits their needs.” If you or a loved one is currently in need of health insurance, you can visit www.HealthCare.gov to learn more about this new health care marketplace.

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