American Heart Month is recognized every February. The month is dedicated to reminding everyone to focus on their heart health, and to encourage their loved ones and the communities they live in to become more involved with the promotion of heart health. Often, when someone is asked what illness they think leads to most deaths, they say cancer. However, cancer is not the deadliest disease for the U.S. population, but heart disease.
Key cardiovascular diseases are coronary artery disease and associated heart attacks, hypertension, and strokes— which, together, cause the death of one out of every three U.S. residents. The worse part about it is that many of these heart related deaths are avoidable.
Brief History of American Heart Month
The American Heart Association was established in 1924, and the traditional American Heart Month was established in 1964 under its leadership. In spite of having been around for so long, cardiovascular disease is still one of the leading causes of deaths in the U.S. That’s in spite of the fact that the American Heart Association has made outstanding progress, and saved many lives through its efforts.
Of course, it is still a very difficult battle that must be fought continuously. In fact, cardiovascular disease still leads to well over 16 million deaths per year. What the American Heart Month has done is that it has significantly increased the awareness that people have about heart problems and why they occur. It has also helped the American Heart Association raise much funding required to conduct more research into preventing heart problems through medical research and heart health promotion.
Key Uncontrollable Factors for Heart Disease
There’s a reason why a huge dent can’t be made on the health risks posed by cardiovascular disease. That’s because even though there are many conditions where healthier hearts can be supported, there are situations which have risks that are uncontrollable. Key among them are:
- Age – this is a factor which cannot be controlled, as the human body deteriorates in functionality as it ages.
- Family History – There are some forms of heart diseases which are passed on genetically.
Controllable Factors for Heart Disease
In addition to its support of research, the American heart Month focuses on promoting and encouraging controllable activities and habits which lead to improved heart health. They include:
- Eating properly to prevent obesity
- Routine exercise to prevent obesity
- Preventing and reducing stress.
Adoption of these controllable lifestyle practices can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. However, this is a battle which has to be fought hard and long to achieve as many winners as possible.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!