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February is National Heart Month
How healthy is your heart? What about your children or spouse?
February 23, 2012
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. The most common type of heart disease is called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD). It affects millions of people. When someone has CHD, blood vessels that take blood to the heart are narrowed or blocked with fat material called plaque. The blood flow is blocked to the heart; the heart muscle can become weakened or even die. This is called a “heart attack.” Plaque buildup can occur by smoking, fat and cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure or too much sugar in the blood (diabetes). Also, family history or genetics can increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
Heart disease can be prevented. What can you do to lower your risk of heart disease and heart attack?
- Watch your weight;
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke;
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure;
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation;
- Get active and eat healthy;
- Take steps to prevent type 2 diabetes; and
- Manage stress.
Many of our APS schools are working to promote heart health by participation in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. This nationwide program, sponsored by the National Football League, promotes activity and health in school-aged children. Schools compete for special prizes through activities that get students moving.
Exercise boosts your mood, gives you more energy and improves self-esteem. Before starting any exercise program, you should always consult your doctor. You can support activity at home. Here are five activities you can do with your child to help strengthen your heart:
- Take the dog for a walk;
- Wii Fit;
- Go roller blading; and
- Go bike riding.
Manage your risk factors and live a long life for yourself and children! For more information on Heart Month visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/