Tag Archives: heart health

American Heart Month: A Guide to Heart-Healthy Nutrition

February marks the beginning of American Heart Month, during which healthcare organizations and providers spotlight the significance of public cardiovascular health and aim to raise awareness of risk factors, interventions, and disease prevalence. Today, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the United States, contributing to nearly 660,000 deaths each year. Although patient and provider education, medical care capabilities, and available therapeutics have expanded and improved over the years, the burden of heart disease persists.

While there are many known risk factors that can contribute to cardiovascular diseases – such as smoking, hypertension, obesity, and alcohol use – certain variables are easily modifiable with preventive measures and minor lifestyle interventions. One such important risk component is nutrition.

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Heart Health Month: Effects of Toxins on Cardiovascular Health 

The human body is vulnerable to a variety of environmental hazards which can have a noxious effect on overall health contributing to the development of cancers, neurological and neurodegenerative diseases, metabolic disorders, as well as reproductive and developmental disorders. Growing evidence suggests exposure to chemicals can elevate the risk of cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of death in the United States which costs the nation hundreds of billions of dollars annually.

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American Heart Month turns 50

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the month of February to be American Heart Month. With that being said, each February for the past 50 years, the goal of the American Heart Association (AHA) has been to urge Americans to take responsibility for their heart health. Many things have changed in the past 50 years, but the importance of keeping our hearts healthy is not one of them. Although statistics of Americans dying from heart disease have decreased in recent decades, heart disease remains the # 1 killer of American men and women.

In 1960, over 662,000 Americans died each year from heart disease and over 920,000 died from all forms of cardiovascular disease, according to a Huffington Post article written by AHA CEO, Nancy Brown. In 2010, those numbers were below 600,000 and 784,000. Although less and less people are dying annually from heart related diseases, we’re still not out of the woods. Anyone can develop heart disease but those who smoke, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol are at greater risk. Other factors that contribute include diabetes, obesity, poor diet, lack of exercise, and excessive alcohol consumption.

On January 31, 2014, President Barak Obama instated the 50th proclamation written by an American president declaring cardiovascular disease our number one enemy and redefining February as American Heart Month. In the proclamation, President Obama states that one out of every four deaths in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease. The purpose of this written, official statement, is to encourage the American people to “renew our fight, both as a Nation and in each of our own lives, against the devastating epidemic of heart disease.”

Although every month should be “American Heart Month,” The American Heart Association has numerous events going on throughout the month of February to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease and how individuals can make positive changes to their lifestyle to ensure optimal health. Some events include walks, donation drives, the “Go Red for Women” campaign, national Wear Red Day (Feb. 7th) among others. Also, their website is home to the American Heart Month fact of the day educating visitors on unknown cardiovascular information. The bottom line is, many people think it won’t happen to them but the best way to avoid developing a heart condition is to eat healthy, exercise regularly, and kick the unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking.

The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) offers a Metabolic Cardiovascular Certification from the University of South Florida to physicians wishing to further their ability to treat patients with cardiovascular conditions as well as prevent disease in others. This certification program covers topics including how to apply nutrition, exercise and weight management programs when it comes to vascular aging and disease; the pathophysiology of hypertension, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease and heavy metal toxicity; immunologic vascular disease; and various conditions of vascular disease including dysglycemia, insulin resistance and diabetes and much more. Start your Metabolic Cardiovascular Certification in San Francisco, on March 14-16th by registering for Module XVI(A).

For more information on how you can help raise awareness against cardiovascular disease, visit www.heart.org.