February is American Heart Month. ACG is trying to do our part to help educate about heart health. The term “heart disease” refers to several types of heart conditions, the most common type in the United States being coronary artery disease. This affects the blood flow to the heart. Decreased blood flow can lead to a heart attack. Heart disease is the number once cause of death for men and women. Around 610,000 deaths in America every year are due to heart disease, that’s 1 in every four deaths. One of the leading causes of stroke and heart disease is due to high blood pressure. 20% of people living with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it. According to the CDC, over 40% of all African Americans have high blood pressure. African American men living in the southeast region of the United States are at the greatest risk for heart disease.
Knowing what causes elevated chances of heart problems is important to reducing the likelihood of being diagnosed with heart disease. Some of the risk factors that can lead to poor heart heath are smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, poor diet, and alcohol abuse.
The good news is that 80% of heart disease and stroke can be prevented. Your first step is to start by talking to your doctor about improving your heart health. Eating a diet that is low in sodium is important. Reducing the amount of salt intake by swapping out for other fresh or dried spices can help lower your chances as well. Start a regular exercise routine with as little as 15 minutes of walking 3 times a week and gradually increase your time to 30 minutes. Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help lower your blood pressure. If you know you have high blood pressure and are at risk of heart disease, you should check your blood pressure on a regular basis. Get a good quality blood pressure monitor, and make sure you are using proper cuff placement with your feet flat on the ground. If you think you have gotten a bad reading, try waiting 15 minutes and take your blood pressure again. If you have a portable monitor, you can take it in with you to the doctor to test it against their machine to see how accurate of a reading you are getting. You are welcome in come into the store at ACG, and our staff can assist you with a free blood pressure reading.
If you are unable to come in to the store, the staff at ACG made a video demonstrating how to properly take your blood pressure and make sure you get an accurate reading.
At ACG we think heart health is important. In recognition of American Heart Month, we are offering a 10% offspecial on all of our blood pressure monitors for the month of February.
There are many different websites that have a wealth of information on heart health. There are additional articles published for American Heart Month. Some of the websites are the American Heart Association, the CDC‘s page on heart disease, and Health Finder.