February is American Heart Month

  • February 8, 2016

February is American Heart Month

On January 29, 2016 President Obama declared February as American Heart Month with a proclamation asking Americans to “renew efforts to raise awareness about the disease and the steps that can be taken to prevent it.” Lyndon Baines Johnson started the tradition of observing American Heart Month in 1964.  Despite honoring this practice for over fifty years, heart disease is still America’s number 1 killer.

Observation of American Heart Month

To honor American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is joining efforts with Million Hearts® to urge Americans to find out their blood pressure level and if it is high to “make control their goal.”

Make Control Your Goal

For those living with high blood pressure, the CDC and Million Hearts® recommend taking the following steps to make blood pressure control your goal.

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be.
  • Take your blood pressure medicine as directed.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Do not start smoking.
  • Reduce your sodium intake.

Other steps that reduce risk factors related to heart disease include reducing alcohol intake, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet, living tobacco-free and being aware of early warning signs.

Ethnic/Racial Disparities

Heart disease affects all races and ethnicities, killing over 375,000 people in the United States a year. Although the disease hits all communities hard, African American men are at the highest risk for the disease with two out of five African American men having high blood pressure while only approximately half of them have it controlled. In addition, nearly half of all African American adults, 48 percent of women and 46 percent of men, have some form of cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Services at Whittier Street Health Center

Whittier provides heart health education and screening to identify new cases of hypertension as well as care to patients with cardiovascular diseases. To learn more, please call our Cardiovascular Case Manager at 617-989-3197.