Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated February as American Heart Month in hopes to decrease and eliminate deaths associated with all forms of Heart Disease.
Today, due to advances in technology and medical research, heart disease is less than 32 percent of deaths and decreasing every year.
“Heart health is important because you can’t live without the heart, and when it’s damaged, it limits (physically and mentally) the activities you live to do,” Jefferson County Public Health executive director, Dr. Mark Johnson said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death nationwide with around 600,000 deaths a year. In Colorado, around 6,400 people die a year from cardiovascular disease, but with regular checkups, a proper diet and routinely moderate exercise, you can cut down your risk for a heart attack or heart disease drastically.
“One of the most important things to do is see your physician regularly and get a risk assessment,” said Dr. Michael Kaplan, the national medical director of NextCare Urgent Care “It’s important to know, because your risk can be higher and you can be put at risk — get checked.”
The heart is one of the most vital of human organs, a muscle that pumps blood to the rest of the body. When inflicted with heart disease, a slow buildup of blood vessels prevents blood from being pumped.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), individuals should assess possible risks and warning signs, and work to prevent heart disease.
“So much of heart disease is due to lifestyle, it’s why we put so much emphasis on it,” Johnson said.
The AHA suggests assessing personal risk, controlling weight and cholesterol and having an active lifestyle.
Both Kaplan and Johnson agree, and recommend avoiding smoking or using tobacco products; eating a diet low in fats and cholesterol; and high in fruits and vegetables and exercising 40 minutes a day, three to four days a week to maintain a healthy heart.
“In order to have a healthy body, one must have a healthy heart,” Johnson said.
For more information on American Heart Month or to learn more on heart disease, visit .