February is American Heart Month, a time when everyone can focus on their cardiovascular health. Understanding risk factors for heart disease and how to live a heart-healthy lifestyle are a part of practicing self-care for #OurHearts.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Lifestyle, age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease. Health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are also key risk factors for heart disease.

Understand Your Health Risks

Make the time during American Heart Month to Know Your Numbers. Five numbers that you should know to take control of your heart health are Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI). Knowing these numbers can help you and your healthcare provider determine your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.

Some risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control. It’s important to know your health status. Even during uncertain and busy times, get your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels checked. Talk to your health care provider about your heart health.

Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

The good news is you can lower your risk of heart disease by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Through simple lifestyle changes, members can keep their cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars at healthy levels. Patients who are on medication may also be able to implement daily healthy habits and reduce their medication dosage.

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