Oakland County celebrates National Heart Month

Oakland County Health Division urges residents to learn about heart disease, its risk factors, and lifestyle changes that can improve heart health during American Heart Month this February. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). African Americans have a higher risk of heart disease with 48% of African American women and 44% of African American men having some form of heart disease.

“Heart disease can happen at any age but it can be reversed,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County. “Small lifestyle changes today can be the start of a heart healthy future.”

It is important to learn about individual risk factors for heart disease. Take these actions to lower the risk for heart disease:

• Quit smoking and using other forms of tobacco. For help quitting, call the Michigan Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit https://michigan.quitlogix.org.

• Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.

• Maintain a healthy weight. A health professional can calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine if your weight is in a healthy range.

• Get moving. Staying physically active will help you control your weight and strengthen your heart. Adults need 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. Children should get 1 hour of physical activity per day.

• Manage stress: Healthy habits can protect you from the harmful effects of stress.

“Look in your community for opportunities to make healthier eating choices, be active, and manage health conditions, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol,” Stafford said. “By living a healthy lifestyle, you lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack.”

For additional information about heart disease, visit www.oakgov.com/health or call Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For up-to-date public health information, follow @publichealthOC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.