February is the month of hearts. With Valentine’s Day at the center of attention for the month, cartoon hearts and pink and red colors are everywhere. But February is also a big month for hearts that aren’t the cartoon kind. February is American Heart Month. In keeping with this national observance, Oxford is focusing on all things heart-health for the entire month. To kick our month of heart love off, we’re taking a quick look at why heart health matters so much and what you can do to show your heart a little extra love this month and all year long!
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease or cardiovascular disease can refer to a number of conditions. Simply put, heart disease is anything that affects your heart, such as:
- Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats
- Cardiac Arrest, or a sudden loss of heart function
- High Cholesterol
- Congenital Heart Defects, or heart defects present at birth
- Heart Failure, or failures to pump enough blood
- Heart Valve Problems
- High Blood Pressure
Why Heart Disease?
Aside from National Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, few national awareness months get as much attention as American Heart Month. The reason? Approximately 610,000 Americans die each year from heart disease. That means 1 in 4 deaths in the US is a result of heart disease. There are also a staggering number of Americans who are affected by heart disease and survive each year. On average, 735,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Of those, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who already had a heart attack. With so many Americans impacted, the American Heart Association has focused heavily on raising awareness over the last two decades.
For women in particular, heart health was a long-overlooked issue. In 2003, when the American Heart Association launched their Go Red for Women campaign, over 500,000 women died from heart disease in the US each year. At that time, the majority of women surveyed believed heart attacks and heart disease were primarily male disorders, and as a result were wholly unaware of their own risks. Over the last 15 years, the Go Red campaign has worked through educational programming to drastically drop this number—a more than 30% decrease in heart disease deaths in women in the last decade. However, despite this progress, 1 in 3 women who die each year die from heart diseases or strokes.
What can I do?
The good news? A big part of managing heart disease centers on lifestyle changes you can do. Diet and exercise are always important, but they are especially vital to heart health. Quitting smoking, regular activity, and avoiding saturated fats when possible are all the top recommended tips for showing your heart a little extra love.
Not sure where to start? Joining Oxford is a great first step. From our world-class fitness facility, dedicated personal training, and endless cardio fitness options, Oxford provides you with a place and a community to meet your health goals.
Your heart is, quite literally, the organ that keeps you alive. This month and every month, show it a little love!