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February is Heart Awareness Month. Show your heart some TLC.

February 2020

Be more loving to your heart.

In your lifetime, you heart will beat about 2.5 billion times. It never gets a rest. Our hearts are vital to keeping us alive, and this organ deserves all the TLC we can muster.

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. But the good news? The disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions.

Heart disease doesn’t just strike older adults.

Heart disease—and the conditions that lead to it—can happen at any age. High rates of obesity and high blood pressure are putting younger people (ages 35-64) at risk for heart disease earlier in life. And half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease.

The top 3 risk factors for heart disease.

  1. High blood pressure – Having uncontrolled high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks for heart disease and other harmful conditions, such as stroke.
  2. High blood cholesterol – High cholesterol can increase the risk for heart disease. Having diabetes and obesity, smoking, eating unhealthy foods, and not getting enough physical activity can all contribute to high cholesterol levels.
  3. Smoking – Smoking damages blood vessels and can cause heart disease.

Other conditions and behaviors that increase the risk for heart disease include obesity, diabetes, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits.

How to reduce your risk?

While you can’t change your genetic predisposition to heart disease, you can try to live a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what you can do to help prevent heart disease.

Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.

Manage your conditions. Control your high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Take any medications as directed.

Eat heart-healthy. That means foods low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Devour the fruits and vegetables.

Be active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. That breaks down to 21.43 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise. 

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