This February we’re celebrating American Heart Month as we focus our hearts on a life of love. Loving our hearts means committing to heart-healthy habits throughout our lives. A person’s heart will beat over two billion times in their lifetime, yet it will face many factors that contribute to heart disease, including exposure to saturated fats, salty foods and drinks, poor sleep, stress and cigarette smoke—which contribute to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. claiming 695,547 lives in 2021.

This month we celebrate our hard-working hearts and call on people to keep their hearts healthy. Government agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health, and the American Heart Association have launched campaigns to remind people to care for their hearts by healthy eating and exercising and avoiding exposure to harmful substances and habits. The National Wear Red Day® on February 2 was a way to show visible support of heart health, and many organizations have highlighted the racial disparities in heart disease such as the 30% higher likelihood of African Americans dying of heart disease than non-Hispanic whites.

It's a time to prioritize heart-healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, smoking cessation, stress management and routine health screenings. Small changes can yield significant benefits, reducing the risk of heart disease and its associated complications. As a preventive medicine physician, I am deeply committed to advocating for proactive measures that empower individuals to safeguard their hearts and live longer, healthier lives. Beyond individual efforts, community-wide initiatives are essential in promoting heart health. Collaboration between healthcare providers, policymakers and community organizations can foster environments that support healthy lifestyles and access to preventive care.

At ACPM, we’re focused on preventing heart disease through promoting healthy lifestyle choices and systems changes that support and enable those lifestyle choices. We provide heart-healthy information and CME to help clinicians to counsel their patients, as well as recommendations for systems-level interventions to improve the policies, procedures and laws that make it easier for Americans to live healthier lives.

With support from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion: Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, ACPM funds multiple health systems in the U.S. to conduct pilot demonstrations focused on reducing hypertension amongst disproportionately affected populations, specifically Black men and women. ACPM has also launched a Power of Prevention campaign to advance awareness of the critical role prevention and preventive medicine play in improving our healthcare system.

On April 17, during our Preventive Medicine 2024 conference, we’ll be hosting a health fair for people experiencing homelessness in Washington, D.C. We’ll be providing blood pressure screenings and counseling people on healthy lifestyles. Sign up on the conference registration webpage if you’d like to be part of these important community efforts.
As we commemorate American Heart Month, let us recommit ourselves to the pursuit of heart health. May your heart provide you an abundance of life and love!


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