It is no surprise that February is Heart Health Month! This month raises awareness of the risks of heart disease and how it affects Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, causing about 1 in 4 deaths.”
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, your age, and family history can increase your risk for heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about half of all Americans (47%), have at least one of three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
Although some of the risk factors for heart disease cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history, you can still take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors that you can control.
The American Heart Association says that choosing healthy foods and drinks, keeping a healthy weight, getting regular physical activity, and not smoking, are all proactive ways to keep your heart healthy. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends controlling blood pressure, regularly checking cholesterol levels, and taking prescribed medications.
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. When not properly managed, high blood pressure can affect your heart and other major organs of your body, including your kidneys and brain. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, so the only way to know if you have it is to get your blood pressure measured. It is important to routinely talk with your health care provider about how you can manage your blood pressure and lower your risks.
Another condition that increase the risk of heart disease include unhealthy cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made by the liver or found in certain foods. Your liver makes enough for your body’s needs, but we often get more cholesterol from the foods we eat.
High blood cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms. The only way to know whether you have high cholesterol is to get your cholesterol checked. This is done through a simple blood test, called a lipid profile, to measure you cholesterol levels.
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics (ACMH) offers Wellness Screenings year-round, which includes several tests to determine your general health status. These laboratory tests include a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), Complete Blood Count (CBC), and a lipid panel. Wellness Screenings are a detailed way to assess your heart health.
These screenings are an accessible option that do not require a referral from a provider. You can schedule an appointment at any time. If you have any questions or would like to set up your screenings, please contact the ACMH Laboratory Department at 712-563-5306.