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February is American Heart Month

In 2011, heart disease and stroke were the first and fifth leading causes of death respectively, for both men and women in Ohio. American Heart Month is the perfect time to learn about the risk factors and warning signs of heart disease as well as some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to prevent a stroke or heart attack. Check out the Bureau of Healthy Ohio’s Facebook page as well as the links below for pertinent information about what you can do throughout the month of February and beyond to improve your heart health.

Risk Factors:

High blood pressure and cholesterol are just two of the many factors that can put you at risk for developing heart disease. Take the My Life Check Assessment to determine your personal risk and receive tips on how to improve your heart health.

Do you have close relatives -- parents, grandparents, or siblings – who have heart disease?  If so, you may benefit from additional screenings and tests to determine whether or not you are at risk. It is important to know your family’s health history and to talk to your healthcare provider about the steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Warning Signs:

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. To raise awareness about this and increase recognition among women about some of their unique heart attack symptoms, National Wear Red Day®  is observed on the first Friday in February. This annual event, which began in 2003,  focuses on women’s risk for heart disease. View this video to learn about the warning signs women may experience when having a heart attack and wear red on Friday, February 7, to show your support for this important cause.

Knowing the warning signs for a stroke could save your life or the life of a loved one. Read more about the different types of strokes and symptoms that could signal a stroke on the Healthy Ohio page. 

Prevention:

According to the newest Surgeon General’s report―The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress― smoking causes 32 percent of all coronary heart disease deaths in the United States. If you are currently a smoker, there may be a local cessation class or online resources available to you to help you quit for good.

Too much sodium in your diet can increase your risk for high blood pressure which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Check out this infographic from the CDC to learn more about what you can do to reduce your sodium intake.

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