Human Resources

February is Heart Disease Awareness Month

In 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 697,000 people in the United States died from heart disease (about one in every five deaths). Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions. In the United States, coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. CAD affects blood flow to the heart which can cause a heart attack.

Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age and family history. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or are a smoker, you have an increased risk of heart disease. About half of the people in the United States have at least one of these three risk factors. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease:

n Diabetes.

n Obesity.

n Unhealthy diet.

n Physical inactivity.

n Excessive alcohol use.

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Eating a diet that is low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol is recommended. If you take in more cholesterol that the body can use, the extra cholesterol can build up in the walls of the arteries, including those of the heart. This leads to narrowing of the arteries and can decrease the blood flow to the heart, brain, kidneys, and other parts of the body.

Limiting alcohol consumption and quitting smoking will also reduce your risk. The CDC recommends that women have no more than one drink per day and men have no more than two drinks per day. If you are a smoker and would like to quit smoking, most Federal Employee Health Benefits insurance plans offer smoking cessation support.

For more information, visit factors.htm.

February 3, 2023 is National Wear Red Day. Wear red to show your support of the prevention of heart disease. Heart Disease Facts: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.1. One person dies every 34 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease.2. In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds.3. About 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent—the damage is done, but the person is not aware of it.4. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing 382,820 people in 2020.5. Diabetes, obesity, excessive alcohol use, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity increase the risk of heart disease. 6. Reduce your risk of heart disease by engaging in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity weekly.