American Heart Month



February is American Heart Month. It is a time for everyone to concentrate on their cardiovascular health. For the year 2022, The CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP), is focusing on hypertension (high blood pressure), a leading cause of heart disease. High blood pressure can damage your heart if untreated. It is important to see a healthcare provider regularly to check up on your heart health. According to the CDC, only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control. In 2019, more than half a million deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause. Please take this month to check up on your heart health for your wellbeing.


Hypertension

 

Blood pressure is the pressure of circulating blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Arteries carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body.


It is normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, however the heart can become damaged, leading to multiple health problems, if one’s blood pressure stays high for a long time. When one’s blood pressure is higher than normal it is called hypertension.


Facts About Hypertension in the U.S. According to the CDC

 
  • Having hypertension puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.

  • In 2019, more than half a million deaths in the United States had hypertension as a primary or contributing cause.

  • Nearly half of adults in the United States (47%, or 116 million) have hypertension, defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than 130 mmHg or a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80 mmHg or are taking medication for hypertension.

  • Only about 1 in 4 adults (24%) with hypertension have their condition under control.

  • About half of adults (45%) with uncontrolled hypertension have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher. This includes 37 million U.S. adults.

  • About 34 million adults who are recommended to take medication may need it to be prescribed and to start taking it. Almost two out of three of this group (19 million) have a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher.

  • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for 516,955 people in the United States in 2019.

  • High blood pressure costs the United States about $131 billion each year, averaged over 12 years from 2003 to 2014.

  • A greater percentage of men (50%) have high blood pressure than women (44%).

  • High blood pressure is more common in non-Hispanic black adults (56%) than in non-Hispanic white adults (48%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (46%), or Hispanic adults (39%).

  • Among those recommended to take blood pressure medication, blood pressure control is higher among non-Hispanic white adults (32%) than in non-Hispanic black adults (25%), non-Hispanic Asian adults (19%), or Hispanic adults (25%).


5 Ways to Celebrate American Heart Month

 
  1. Wear red on the first Friday of February.

  2. Use the hashtag, #MoveWithHeart, on social media when sharing a photo or video to raise awareness.

  3. Raise awareness by talking to your community of friends and family, encouraging everyone to make their heart health a priority.

  4. Make a donation to the American Heart Association to help the fight against heart disease.

  5. Join a local walkathon or plan a walking group in your community to raise awareness and stay healthy.


References

1. “American Heart Month Toolkits 2022.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Jan. 2022, https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/american_heart_month.htm.

2. “American Heart Month.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/american-heart-month.

3. “Facts about Hypertension.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Sept. 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm.

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