February is American Heart Month
February is American Heart Month; a month to spread awareness about the importance of heart health. Each year, countless American families are impacted by heart disease and stroke. Although its risk factors can be prevented or controlled, it is still the leading cause of death for all Americans, and accounts for $1 out of every $6 health care dollars. But there are many simple steps we can take to prevent heart disease such as eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and not smoking.
The Department of Health and Human Services is working with both public and private partners to raise public awareness of heart disease through vital research investments and public health programs. The Million Hearts Initiative takes aim at this disease, aiming to prevention 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years. Other efforts, like the HeartTruth, which addresses women’s heart health, and the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which confronts childhood obesity by helping children choose healthy foods and stay active, work to provide people with resources and ways to make changes in their everyday lives to reduce their own risk of heart disease.
And thanks to the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, new health plans must now cover recommended preventive services, including blood pressure screening for all adults and cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk, cost-free.
This month, as we take time to honor fellow Americans affected by heart disease, as well as recognize the efforts of medical researchers and health care professionals dedicated to prevention, early detection, and effective treatment, consider what steps you and your family can take to promote and adopt a healthy lifestyle.