Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, which is the driving force behind the Million Hearts Initiative. Funded by the CDC, Million Hearts aims to reduce 1 million heart attacks and strokes from occurring by 2017, through prevention efforts and improved education.
Learning and understanding your risks for chronic disease can be the single, most crucial step you can take to maintaining long-term wellness. Part of that understanding is in knowing your numbers! These numbers include your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight, and can be checked during your annual physical with your doctor. Be sure to review these numbers with your doctor and discuss lifestyle changes that may help reduce your risk factors.
Million Hearts takes it one step further, asking you to practice your ABC’s!
A – Aspirin Regimen (if needed)
B – Blood Pressure Control
C – Cholesterol Management
S – Smoking Cessation
Taking these action steps will greatly impact your heart health, however, the most significant way you can reduce your risk of heart disease is to practice a healthy, active lifestyle. This includes a colorful, balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and low-fat dairy. The American Heart Association also recommends a daily exercise routine; suggesting “30 minutes a day, 5 times a week is an easy goal to remember” while still experiencing benefits.
Although many of us find it difficult to fit physical activity into our busy and often exhausting schedules, experts say that 30 minutes can be broken into smaller increments throughout your day. This is a great way to utilize work breaks for walking, stretching or even squeezing in a quick workout. These small changes to improve your overall health will provide even greater benefits.
To learn more about the Million Hearts Initiative, visit their website at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov.