Every journey begins with one step, whether it’s climbing a mountain or preventing heart disease. This American Heart Month, take your first step on the road to a healthy heart.
Heart disease is a major problem. Every year, about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that’s 1 out of every 4 deaths. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions. The most common type in the United States is coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), which occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Coronary heart disease can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.
Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, costs the United States $312.61 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity. These conditions also are leading causes of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.
The situation is alarming, but there is good news—heart disease is preventable and controllable. We can start by taking small steps every day to bring our loved ones and ourselves closer to heart health. CDC is providing a tip a day throughout February, but you can take these small steps all year long.
One Step at a Time
As you begin your journey to better heart health, keep these things in mind:
- Don’t become overwhelmed. Every step brings you closer to a healthier heart.
- Don’t go it alone. The journey is more fun when you have company. Ask friends and family to join you.
- Don’t get discouraged. You may not be able to take all of the steps at one time. Get a good night’s sleep and do what you can tomorrow.
- Reward yourself. Find fun things to do to decrease your stress. Round up some colleagues for a lunchtime walk, join a singing group, or have a healthy dinner with your family or friends.