Educate yourself about heart disease and participate in Wear Red Day during February, American Heart Month


Last year, President Biden proclaimed February American Heart Month, inviting all Americans to participate in National Wear Red Day. 

National Wear Red Day will be observed on Feb. 3, 2023, to honor those who have lost their lives to heart disease as well as raise awareness on how Americans can stay healthy. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately more than 600,000 Americans die from some form of heart disease every year. 

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In a Jan. 31, 2022 proclamation, Biden wrote that he had asked Congress to launch the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health initiative, investing billions of dollars in preventing, detecting and treating cancer, cardiovascular conditions and other diseases.

“My administration is also working across federal agencies to develop new programs to alleviate heart health disparities, including those that threaten maternal health,” the president said.  

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
(Credit: iStock)

“Continuing the fight against cardiovascular disease is crucial to improving our nation’s public health. During American Heart Month, we must recommit ourselves to ensuring a healthier future for all Americans,” Biden stated. 

Cardiovascular disease occurs when there is a build-up of fatty deposits in an artery or a blood clot that reduces the flow of blood to the body’s main organ, such as the heart or brain. 

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Common symptoms of some forms of heart disease include chest pain, heartburn, nausea, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and heart palpitations. 

How many people are affected by heart disease? 

One person dies every 36 seconds in the U.S. from cardiovascular disease, according to the agency, and about 805,000 people have a heart attack every year. 

An estimated 18.2 million adults age 20 and older have coronary artery disease, and certain factors put Americans at higher risk for heart disease. 

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Back in June 2021, the World Health Organization reported that cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, with an estimated 179 people dying from CVDs in 2019 – 32% of all global deaths.

The American Heart Association (AHA) says that CVDs accounted for 874,613 deaths in the U.S. in 2019, and coronary heart disease accounted for 360,900 deaths in 2018. 

The organization also said stroke accounted for approximately one of every 19 deaths in the U.S. in 2019.

More than 18 million American adults are affected by cardiovascular disease. 

More than 18 million American adults are affected by cardiovascular disease. 
(Mount Sinai Health System)

“Despite the significant progress we have made, heart disease continues to exact a heartbreaking toll – a burden disproportionately carried by Black and Brown Americans, American Indians and Alaska Natives, and people who live in rural communities,” the president noted. 

He went on, “Cardiovascular diseases – including heart conditions and strokes – are also a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, which are highest among women of color. Addressing these tragic disparities and improving heart health has never been more important, as people suffering from heart disease and related conditions are also at increased risk of severe illness and long-term effects from COVID-19,” the president noted.

What causes heart disease?

The leading causes of heart disease include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, an unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. 

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The CDC reports that heart disease is also the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the country, including African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic and White men. 

How do you avoid it?

By living a healthy lifestyle and monitoring medical conditions, people can lower the risk of heart disease. 

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Physical activity, a healthy diet, less stress, avoiding smoking and vaping and getting good sleep can reduce the risk of heart disease.

The AHA and CDC both have resources on their websites for people who would like to know more about American Heart Month and heart health.

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