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How to Combat Heart Disease

How to Combat Heart Disease

When we think about February, we usually think about hearts because of Valentine’s Day. However, there’s another reason that hearts are an important topic this month – it’s American Heart Month. Heart disease is and continues to be a serious issue in the United States. That’s why on December 30, 1963, Congress formally created American Heart Month for the month of February.

The primary goals of American Heart Month are to educate the public about heart health risk factors and the seriousness of heart disease as well as to help people understand what they can do to boost their own heart health.

What Is Heart Disease?

You may have heard of the term “cardiovascular disease,” which is another way of saying heart disease. The most common form of heart disease in the U.S. is coronary artery disease (CAD). This occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become hardened and narrowed due to a buildup of cholesterol, known as plaque. CAD can then lead to health issues such as heart attack, heart failure, chest pain, stroke, and irregular heartbeat.

Three Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Roughly 47% of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors:

  1. High Blood Pressure (hypertension)

High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke because it damages the inside of your arteries. This creates plaque buildup and narrows the arteries’ passageway to your brain and heart.

  1. Diabetes

Did you know that diabetics are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke? That’s because high blood sugar from diabetes can damage blood vessels in the heart and block blood vessels leading to the brain, causing a stroke. More than 2 in 3 people with diabetes also have high blood pressure.

  1. Obesity/Unhealthy Diet

A healthy diet can reduce a person’s chances of getting heart disease because it helps prevent high cholesterol. A healthy diet emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins and limits saturated and trans-fat, added sugars, and sodium.

About Florida Health Care Plans

Florida Health Care Plans serves our community with over 9,000 local health care providers in Flagler, Volusia, Seminole, Brevard, and St. Johns counties. Our Care Centers are designed with convenience and comfort in mind, whether you are visiting your family doctor, getting an X-ray, or utilizing our cost-effective, members-only pharmacies.

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