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Your heart health is important every day, but on Valentine’s Day we are reminded that heart disease is as much a woman’s problem as a man’s. February has featured the Go Red For Women campaign since 2004, reminding women to be aware of the risks of heart disease and the steps they can take to prevent it.

This year, National Wear Red Day is Feb. 7, but Feb. 14 can be your day to focus on keeping yourself and your loved one heart healthy.

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and it is affecting many at a younger age as some risk factors are becoming more prominent among younger people. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are the top risk factors for developing heart disease. About half of Americans have at least one of these risk factors and the growing obesity problem in our country creates an additional risk.

Awareness is key for your health and that of your loved one. Many people don’t realize their blood pressure or cholesterol is high, and of those who do, many do not have them under control. In fact, about half of all people with high blood pressure do not have it under control, making this condition one of the biggest risk factors for heart disease, as well as heart attacks and strokes.

High cholesterol among Americans is exacerbated by the growing problems of obesity and diabetes. Factor in poor eating and exercise habits and the risk is greater.

Smoking at any level and at any age only contributes more risk that you or a loved one will develop heart disease.

Make this a Healthy Valentine’s Day for you and your family by choosing to fight those risk factors that can lead to heart disease.

  • Eat healthy foods that are low in saturated fats, low in sodium and are in their most basic form (not processed). Increase the fruits and vegetables you eat each day.

  • Get active by running, walking, swimming or weight training 2 to 3 times a week. Target 150 minutes per week of moderate to intense physical activity.

  • Don’t start smoking, and if you do smoke, quit.

  • Get your weight to a healthy level for your age and height and keep it there. More than one-third of Americans are obese, contributing to a growing incidence of diabetes, both of which put stress on and damage the heart.

  • Limit alcohol consumption to improve sleep patterns, eating habits and digestion.

  • Manage those conditions you know you have by seeing your doctor regularly. Maintaining consistent use of prescribed medications and getting blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked regularly are key to maintaining your health.

Make February your month to start a campaign for your family to get healthy, get active and fight heart disease. If you have questions about how you can reduce your risk for heart disease or best manage your health conditions, contact our team today.