Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, according to the National Heart Association, but is largely preventable.
In support of February’s American Heart Month, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center and its community based clinics have planned events to help educate Veterans about the risk factors for heart disease and inform them of ways to reduce their risk.
Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, poor diet, abnormal cholesterol levels, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking and a family history of heart or vascular disease, among others.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that older adults aren’t the only ones at risk for heart disease. Younger adults are becoming more and more susceptible to the disease as the conditions that lead to it begin to occur at earlier ages.
Learning to be heart healthy at any age is vitally important for continued heart health. The CDC recommends these four tips for supporting a healthy heart:
- Don’t smoke. Smoking leads to many health problems and puts strain on the heart. Avoid smoking and seek out help to quit the habit. The VA offers programs and medications that can help.
- Manage conditions. Work with your VA provider or health care team to manage conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Ensure you regularly take medications as prescribed for these conditions.
- Make heart-healthy eating changes. Eat food low in trans-fat, added sugar and sodium. Aim to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables daily and opt for low sodium food choices. VA can help you maintain a healthy weight through the MOVE! program.
- Stay active. Try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Grab a friend and get moving together!
Find out more about how Charleston VA Medical Center can help you maintain a healthy heart and reach other health goals at the following events:
VA Goes Red Health Fair
Monday, Feb. 26
8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Charleston VAMC Main Auditorium
Trident CBOC Veteran Health Fair
Wednesday, Feb. 28
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Trident VA Outpatient Clinic