February is American Heart Month: Know Your Numbers

February is American Heart Month. Many Americans are walking around with high blood pressure and have no idea. Knowing your numbers can help you stay healthier and live longer. Here’s what you need to know!

AHA Know Your Numbers

February is American Heart Month: Know Your Numbers

February is American Heart Month. According to the American College of Cardiology, American Heart Month was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in December 1963 who urged the American people to, “give heed to the nationwide problem of the heart and blood-vessel diseases and to support the programs required to bring about its solution.” President Johnson’s action marked a major point in the nation’s approach to addressing cardiovascular disease though the struggle still remains.

Today, many Americans are walking around with high blood pressure and have no idea so being proactive and knowing your numbers can help you stay healthier and live longer. 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 1 in 3, more than 100 million, American adults have high blood pressure but only half have their condition under control. Many people develop high blood pressure when they are in their late 30’s or early 40’s and increased blood pressure can occur more frequently as you age. 

Often referred to as the “silent killer” because it may present with no symptoms, high blood pressure puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, heart failure and stroke among other things.

Know your numbers!

Heart health directly impacts cardiovascular disease which increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association says knowing your numbers means knowing not only your blood pressure but your cholesterol and blood sugar numbers too which are key pieces to not only understanding your risk factors but also when to see your doctor.

Blood pressure...what to know

Sometimes people can be confused about what blood pressure readings should be and what they mean. The American Heart Association shares the following guidelines as recommendations but please note you should always check with your doctor for blood pressure readings that pertain to you:

Heart Month

The AHA also shares that blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

  • Systolic blood pressure (the first or top number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.

  • Diastolic blood pressure (the second or bottom number) – indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

The AHA has further resources about blood pressure monitoring including self-monitoring your blood pressure at home, wellness, how to increase your physical activity which leads to a healthy lifestyle and more.

Heart Disease in the United States

Blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers all can contribute to heart disease and impact your cardiovascular health. Many people know that high blood pressure and high cholesterol are contributors to heart disease but it’s lesser known that, over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The AHA goes on to say, “people living with Type 2 diabetes are two times more likely to develop and die from cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks, strokes and heart failure, than people who don’t have diabetes.” The AHA considers diabetes one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

The (CDC) shares some important stats about heart disease:

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

  • One person dies every 34 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.

  • About 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease in 2020—that’s 1 in every 5 deaths.

  • Heart disease has cost the United States about $229 billion each year from 2017 to 2018. This includes the cost of health care services, medicines, and lost productivity due to death.

It’s important to have annual physicals and/or regular check-ins with your doctor to ensure that your health is the best it can be and that you know your numbers for a healthy life. Knowledge is power when it comes to your health so staying informed is key.

Looking for ways to get fit after 50 to help your heart? Check out our blog Fitness After 50: 13 Routines to Easily Work into Your Schedule in 2023

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Please visit our website or call us at 888-928-1456 TTY:711 to explore insurance coverage options that may fit your needs and budget.

myHealthPolicy’s parent company, CNO Financial Croup, has partnered with the American Heart Association and supports its Healthy for Good™ campaign, a healthy living movement to inspire people to create lasting change in their health and their lives, one small step at a time. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Learn more about the American Heart Association at heart.org

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