February is American Heart Month

heart2Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States? Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. It is the number one killer of women. In 2010, heart disease costed the United States spend $444 billion dollars. This includes healthcare services and medications.

That is a LOT of people effected by heart disease. The good news it, most of the time heart disease can be prevented by simple choices you make on a daily basis. Here are some ways that you can keep your heart healthy- and check up on it occasionally to end a problem before it starts. Sharing this information with your friends, neighbors and children is very important- because it could save someone’s life.

  • Eating Well
    • When you are out grocery shopping, look for the American Heart Association’s logo on products to make sure you are purchasing heart health foods.
    • Cut back on processed foods and limit sodium intake. It is good to aim for less than 1500mg of cholesterol a day.
    • Eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Get Moving
    • Unfortunately, most Americans are overweight.
    • Exercise sends oxygen to your brain and improves your memory.
    • A good goal is 150 minutes of exercise per week of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of strenuous exercise.
  • Stop Smoking
    • Each cigarette you smoke reduces your life by 11 minutes
    • Smoker’s risk of heart attack or disease is twice as high as a non-smoker.
  • Schedule Check-ups
    • At your check-up, your blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg
    • Cholesterol readings are as follows:
      • less than 160 mg/dL is low risk
      • less than 130 mg/dL is intermediate risk
      • less than 100 mg/dL is high risk
      • less than 70 mg/dL is very high risk
  • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Women should aim for a waist circumference of 35 inches or less
    • Men should aim for a waist circumference of 40 inches of less

There are also several community events that celebrate American Heart Month, and focus on teaching people how we can life healthier lives without heart disease. One of these events is the Birmingham Heart Ball at the Barber Motorsports Museum. The Heart Ball is an elegant celebration of life, with proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association.The evening celebrates: the work,  mission,  donors,  volunteers, and most importantly the lives saved and improved because of The American Heart Association’s effort..  The Heart Ball promises to be an engaging evening of fun and passion bringing community and philanthropic leaders together.  Last year, funds raised at Heart Ball events nationwide allowed us to fund over $123 million of research and programs across the country and in your community. Please visit here for more details.

Another event that is a little more family friendly is the Birmingham Heart Walk, which will be on June 24, 2017. The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against this country’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers, heart diseases and stroke.

This inspirational day is filled with energy, excitement and hope! Designed to promote physical activity and heart-healthy living, the Heart Walk creates an environment that’s fun and rewarding for the entire family. This year, more than one million walkers will participate in nearly 350 events. Your participation will help us raise even more in our fight to save lives. Walk with friends, family, coworkers and other members of the community you meet along the way. The walk starts Uptown at the BJCC. Click for more details!


*  Tips were pulled from

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