February Is American Heart Month

Know the risk factors for developing heart disease

This month, the America Heart Association is challenging all Americans to learn more about heart disease and its risk factors, and to join its mission to promote healthier families and communities, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Facts About Heart Disease in the U.S.

  • About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease are in men.
  • Coronary heart disease (CHD), caused by plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries that supply blood to the heart (called coronary arteries) and other parts of the body, is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people annually.
  • Every 43 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack. A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, occurs when a part of the heart muscle doesn’t receive enough blood flow.
  • Of the 735,000 Americans who have a heart attack each year, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 have already had a heart attack.

Heart disease is a major threat to senior’s health. In fact heart disease accounts for 84% of deaths of those 65 years and older. Therefore seniors are especially encouraged to make those all important heart healthy choices. In senior living communities, such as those managed by ISL healthy meals, exercise and an active lifestyle are incorporated into resident’s choices, making a difference in their lives.

Heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions, says the American Heart Association. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

Key Risk Factors for Heart Disease

High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) have at least one of these three risk factors.

These medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

Healthy Lifestyle Factors

Seniors and others can prevent and control many coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors by engaging in a heart-healthy lifestyle. For example some risk factors can be controlled or at least made better like high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity. Only a few risk factors—such as age, gender, and family history—can’t be controlled.

Seniors should try and control each risk factor which include:

  • Heart-healthy eating
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • Physical activity- at least 30 minutes 5 times a week
  • Quitting smoking

The good news is that making changes can help control several risk factors at the same time. For example, physical activity may lower your blood pressure, help control diabetes and prediabetes, reduce stress, and help control weight.

Make heart healthy choices this February.

To learn more about a healthy senior lifestyle in senior living contact our community today!

If you think that you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. A person’s chances of surviving a heart attack increase if emergency treatment is administered as soon as possible.