There’s bad news and good news about heart disease. Bad: heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Good: it’s often preventable. February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to focus on what you can do for your heart. After all, it works hard for you every minute of the day – including as you read these words.
Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, including coronary artery disease and heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking as key risk factors for heart disease. Approximately half of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.
Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:
- being overweight or having obesity
- eating an unhealthy diet
- being physically inactive
- excessive alcohol use
You can learn more about how heart disease and mental health disorders are related. In addition, State Health Plan members can find health and wellness resources on the Plan website. Active members can also find more preventive health benefits under their individual plan on the website.
It’s true that some risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control. Staying at a healthy weight, regularly exercising and controlling alcohol use are all ways to positively impact your health. So have a heart – and take care of yours.