February is American Heart Month—the perfect time to get your blood pressure checked!

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While many are preparing for Valentine’s Day by buying candy hearts and making reservations at fancy restaurants, you can show those in your life you care by having a simple conversation about heart health.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. More than 70 million Americans have high blood pressure and people with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure. Your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live are factors that can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.

There is no better time than now to sit down with your family and friends and have a conversation about high blood pressure and their heart health.

  • Encourage them to make blood pressure control their goal by speaking to their doctor about what their blood pressure should be and how to achieve it.
  • Remind them to take their medications as directed and encourage them to get 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week.
  • Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease, so if they smoke, recommend they quit.
  • Another important point is to reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure.

No one is alone when it comes to getting their blood pressure under control and there are plenty of resources that can help. Join the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Million Hearts® in preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, every heart counts. Spread the love of knowledge this month by sharing the importance of heart health.

Stay Connected and Promote American Heart Month:

  • Wear red on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 6
  • Follow @MillionHeartsUS on Twitter and Million Hearts® on Facebook
  • Use #heartmonth for your social media activities throughout the month
  • Add the Million Hearts® Twibbon to your social media profile— http://twb.ly/zICsjl
  • Tell others about your commitment to heart health by signing up for the 27 Thunderclap—we need 100 people to join for our heart message to be released! Sign up at http://thndr.it/1yt3loQ


Barbara A. Bowman, PhD
Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention





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Page last reviewed: February 5, 2015
Page last updated: February 5, 2015