American Heart Month

By Sandra Anderson, MA
Program Coordinator
Division of Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity and School Health


High blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease, is called the silent killer because it often has no warning signs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. As February — American Heart Month  —  draws to a close, think of the many people affected by heart disease and take the below quiz to know YOUR risk.

Click here to take the Heart Disease Quiz.Warning

Heart disease does not respect your degree(s), amount of money in your bank account or the number of followers you have on social media.  Anyone can be at risk for heart disease and it is most prevalent in the Southeast region. In 2016, heart disease was the second leading cause of death in South Carolina. Chances are, we all know someone affected by heart disease, as 10,183 South Carolinians in 2016 died from it.

Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle

Most people don’t know that heart disease is 80 percent preventable with education and lifestyle changes. Together we can change that by adopting the following heart-healthy lifestyle tips:

  • Schedule a check-up with your doctor to talk about heart health even if you don’t think you are sick.
  • Add physical activity to your daily routine; always check with your doctor before you start.
  • Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least three times a week, and make your favorite recipes using less salt.
  • If you currently smoke, let the S.C. Tobacco Quitline Help You Quit for Keeps; it can help you cut your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Take medication prescribed by your doctor and know the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications.

Know your numbers

 In addition to making the lifestyle changes above, knowing five numbers can help people and their doctors determine their risk for developing heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends knowing the below numbers to take control of your heart health:

  1. Total Cholesterol
  2. HDL – “Good” Cholesterol
  3. Blood Pressure
  4. Blood Sugar
  5. Body Mass Index (BMI)

To learn more about heart disease and what you can do to prevent or at least manage the disease click on this link:

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