The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging everyone to wear red this Friday, February 5, 2016, to raise awareness of heart disease, and to celebrate American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day®. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Illinois.
“While heart disease typically surfaces later in life, what you do in your teens, 20s, and 30s can impact your health as you get older,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Some cardiovascular disease risk factors cannot be controlled, such as a family history or age, but others can. It is important for people of all ages to embrace a healthy lifestyle and know the risks for heart disease.”
Risk Factors: Things that can increase your risk of heart disease include:
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Overweight or obesity
- Physical inactivity
Preventing Heart Disease: Things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease include:
- Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Don’t smoke
- Limit alcohol use
Questions: Questions you can ask your doctor or health care provider to help you better understand heart health include:
- What is my risk for heart disease?
- What is my blood pressure? What does it mean for me, and what do I need to do about it?
- What are my cholesterol numbers? What do I need to do about them?
- Do I need to lose weight for my health?
- What is my blood sugar level? Am I at risk for diabetes?
- What other screening tests for heart disease do I need?
- How often should I return for checkups for my heart health?
- What can I do to quit smoking?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
- What is a heart-healthy eating plan for me?
Find more information about heart disease, including the ABC’s of cardiovascular health, on the IDPH website.