February is a month with heart written all over it. Valentine’s Day on February 14 is the obvious heart reference.

But the other big heart thing going on is that February is “American Heart Month,” marked every February in the U.S. The campaign is part of the Million Hearts® initiative.

This year the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a campaign called “Start Small. Live Big.” The idea is to raise awareness on how you and millions of others can have better heart health.

One of the great things about the campaign is you can learn how easy it is to get started on your heart health journey. Look at it as loving your heart as a way to loving others by setting an example of good heart health.

While “American Heart Month” is for everyone, older Americans should be especially interested because of its health ramifications. If you’re over the age of 55, living in retirement communities, assisted living communities or assisted living facilities, or even senior apartments, “American Heart Month” is for you.

Getting started on your heart health journey

It’s easy to get started on your heart health journey. It’s as easy as contacting your doctor, making a plan, getting active, eating healthy and being a role model.

This link to the Alliance for the Million Hearts organization helps explain it for you. We’ll also help you out with other details in another blog post (Link to blog post) on this website.

But first things first. You’ll want to start with your doctor. Your doctor will help you make a plan. Other ways your doctor can help include:

  • By checking your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. You can also learn how to check them in your assisted living facility.
  • Giving you advice on how to eat healthy and do physical activity.
  • Giving you support in other changes that are good for your heart. This can include quitting smoking.
  • Getting you in contact with specialists to treat heart problems and other conditions.
  • Prescribing medicines you may need.

Raising heart health awareness

One trend in the U.S. that we all should note is that death rates due to heart disease appear to be stalling and not getting better for adults ages 35 to 64. The stalling of the death rates come at a time when death rates due to heart disease have been declining steadily for the past four decades.

This is exactly where the Million Hearts® initiative comes in. Its goal is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes within five years and improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans. The campaign is a national effort co-led by the CDC and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

So how does this happen? The Million Hearts® campaign puts a spotlight on how to have healthy hearts by avoiding unhealthy behaviors that put people at risk of heart attack and stroke. It also focuses on improving the care of those with key risk factors.

So show a little love to “American Heart Month” and get started on your heart health journey.

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