Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

American Heart Month: Fall in love with cardiovascular health

Let’s talk about hearts — the love that fills them and the diseases that damage them.

You should be committed to a long-term relationship with your heart health throughout the year, but it deserves even more love in February. Since its official launch in 1964, American Heart Month has been celebrated in February.

It’s a time to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases, or CVDs, remember the lives lost and spotlight steps people can take to have happier, healthier hearts.

Although it’s recognized during the shortest month, American Heart Month inspires appreciation for one of the body’s largest and most important organs. As the center of the circulatory system, the heart sends blood throughout the body, provides oxygen and nutrients, carries waste and more.

Your heart is your power supply, yet it’s the genesis of the leading cause of death: heart disease.

 

Hard Heart Facts

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and in the world. According to 2019 data released by the American Heart Association, CVDs accounted for over 870,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2019, more than the lives lost to all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases combined. In 2020, over 19 million people across the globe lost their battle to CVDs.

Not only do CVDs inflict emotional and physical hardships, but their economic impact also takes a toll. According to the AHA, $378 billion was spent on direct and indirect costs associated with the diseases.

Coronary heart disease constituted 41.3% of CVD-related deaths in the U.S., along with stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure and diseases of the arteries.

 

Break up With Heart Disease

With heart disease deaths and diagnoses increasing over the past decade, it’s more important than ever to show your heart some love.

Be mindful of symptoms that include pain in the chest, neck, jaw, upper abdomen and back. Fatigue, fluttering sensations and shortness of breath are also associated with heart disease and should be carefully monitored.

Having diabetes, an unhealthy diet and being inactive puts people at a higher risk for heart disease. These conditions have surfaced more in lockdown environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pursuing a healthy lifestyle, controlling blood sugar, treating high blood pressure, engaging in physical activities and managing stress levels are ways you can reduce your chances of getting heart disease.

 

Don’t Skip a Beat, Schedule Today

Regular checkups are essential to a healthy heart. In the 2021-22 edition of America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, UF Health Shands Hospital proudly ranked the highest among Florida hospitals and among the nation’s best in cardiology and heart surgery.

Our priority is getting you back home to share life with the people you care about. Call 1.888.752.0671 to schedule an appointment today.

 

About the Author

Hannah Shelton

Marketing Intern

Hannah Shelton joined UF Health communications as a marketing intern in October 2021. She has since graduated summa cum laude from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications...Read More