Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman are reminding residents that February is American Heart Month, which serves as a good time to learn how to prevent heart disease and stay “heart healthy.”
“Each February, the American Heart Association (AHA) challenges all of us to learn more about heart disease and its risk factors, and to join its mission to promote a heart-healthy lifestyle,” Neuhaus said. “Heart Month raises an important question that we should all take the time to answer honestly: ‘Am I doing all I can to remain heart healthy?’ It’s never too late to make important heart-healthy changes and I encourage residents to make that effort.”
This year, American Heart Month is even more important due to the impact of the coronavirus on the public's heart health, including potential harmful effects on the heart and vascular system. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the AHA, many people have delayed or avoided going to hospitals for heart attacks and strokes, resulting in health issues. The AHA noted that while in lockdown, more people have engaged in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, such as eating poorly, drinking more alcohol, and limiting physical activity, which can contribute to heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. It is also a leading cause of disability. Gelman notes that a heart-healthy lifestyle includes eating a healthy diet, staying at a healthy weight, getting enough physical activity, not smoking or using other forms of tobacco, and limiting alcohol use.
You can do your part to mitigate risk factors by:
* Managing stress
* Exercising at least 30 minutes five days a week
* Eating heart-healthy meals and snacks
* Maintaining a healthy weight
* Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods
* Quitting smoking
* Limiting alcohol use
* Managing your diabetes
* Taking all medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes or other conditions
*Reading the nutrition facts label on the foods you eat and pay attention to serving size
*Talking to your doctor about how often to get your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar checked, and about how your numbers affect your risk for heart disease
“Making healthier choices and maximizing ways to improve your lifestyle can help lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar and reduce your risk for heart disease,” Gelman said. “Heart Month is a great opportunity to embrace good choices and healthy eating.”
To learn more about preventing heart disease, speak with your doctor, or visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.orgOpens a New Window. and the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/prevention.htm. Residents can also call the Orange County Department of Health, Community Health Outreach Division with any questions about healthy eating and lifestyles at 360-6680.