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Is Your Heart Healthy?

Our hearts are an integral part of our health because they transport blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to all body parts. February is Heart Health Awareness Month, approved by Congress in 1963 because they understood the importance of the public being knowledgeable and acknowledging the importance of the ongoing fight against heart disease. 1 in 13 people are currently living with heart disease and are fighting daily. BritFit is celebrating Heart Health Awareness Month with our BeatsPerMinute Campaign and would like for you to take the time to read this article about heart health, share it with your family and friends, and join the campaign to show your support.

Heart disease is a devastating illness that affects millions of people in the United States. It’s a leading cause of death across most racial and ethnic groups, and the statistics are heart-wrenching. Every 33 seconds, someone loses their life to cardiovascular disease, leaving behind loved ones and communities in mourning. In 2021 alone, nearly 695,000 people died from this disease, which is equivalent to 1 in every five deaths. The most common cause of death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in 2020 was coronary heart disease (CHD), accounting for 41.2% of all CVD-related deaths. Stroke was the second most common cause, responsible for 17.3% of deaths, followed by other types of CVD at 16.8%. High blood pressure accounted for 12.9% of deaths, while heart failure was responsible for 9.2% of deaths. The cost of heart disease is not just measured in dollars and cents but also in the immeasurable emotional toll it takes on families and communities.

Heart disease is a condition that can seriously impact your life and the lives of those around you. It’s essential to be aware of the risk factors that can increase your chances of developing heart disease so that you can take steps to protect yourself. High blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity are all risk factors that can put a strain on your heart and increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Some contributing causes related to heart disease include eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, not getting enough physical activity, drinking too much alcohol, and using tobacco. Cigarette smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels, which increases your risk for heart conditions such as atherosclerosis and heart attack; nicotine raises blood pressure. We understand that managing these factors can be difficult, but we’re here to support you and help you make positive changes to your lifestyle. 

Taking small steps to manage your health can significantly reduce your chances of developing heart disease and enjoy a healthier life. Regular exercise can help improve your heart health; moderate exercise for 2.5 hours each week can help to maintain a healthy weight and lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels. We understand that starting an exercise journey can be challenging. Remember to take your time and start small; we have programs to support you through that journey. Heart health can be improved through maintaining a healthy diet. We always say, “What you put in, you get out,” which doesn’t just apply to achieving goals but also what you put in your body. To ensure your diet is aligned with having a healthy heart, avoid foods high in saturated fat and trans fat and limit salt and sugar intake. Instead, eat foods high in fiber and low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. 

A heart-healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish, low-fat or fat-free dairy foods, whole grains, and healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado. We don’t expect you to take this list and head directly to the grocery store, but slowly adding these foods to your diet can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Heart disease can be affected by neglecting your wellness. Focussing on your wellness by managing stress and achieving the necessary sleep can reduce blood pressure. Considering everything, regular check-ups with a doctor are the never-failing way to improve heart health. Routine check-ups and screening allow you and your doctor to be proactive about your heart health, which helps your doctor to diagnose and treat quickly, which increases your chances of improving your heart health.


Knowing how important heart health is, get involved in Heart Health Awareness Month! The following are a couple of ways you can support the cause:

Campaigns

  • BeatsPerMile - Hosted by BritFit - The average beats per minute is 75 bpm; therefore, BeatsPerMile encourages you to walk or run 75 miles during February.

  • Healthy Heart Challenge - Hosted by Crestwood Medical Center - Sign up for email alerts with tools and tips to help jump-start your journey toward a healthier lifestyle.

  • Live to The Beat Campaign - Hosted by Million Hearts  - Live to The Beat aims to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease among black adults 35 to 45 by providing a toolkit with resources and materials to share.

Important Dates

  • February 2nd - National Wear Red Day - Hosted by The Heart Truth

  • September 29 - World Heart Day - Hosted by World Heart Federation

  • May 11 - 2024 Huntsville Heart Walk - Hosted by the American Heart Association


Taking care of yourself is super important, and I'm here to help.  Make sure to get regular check-ups with your doctor. It's essential to catch any potential health issues early on. If you're experiencing any symptoms, don't hesitate to bring them up with your doctor. They can help you determine what's happening and how to treat it. Eating a healthy diet is vital! Focus on whole, nutrient-rich foods and limit processed foods and added sugars. Regular exercise is excellent for both your physical and mental health. Find an activity you enjoy and stick with it! Stress can take a toll on your body and mind, so it's essential to find ways to manage it. Find what works for you, whether meditation, yoga, or talking to a friend. Finally, try to limit your alcohol intake and avoid smoking altogether. Your body will thank you! Remember, taking care of yourself is a journey, not a destination. Keep up the excellent work!


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