DHEC: February is American Heart Month
This February during American Heart Month, DHEC is reminding South Carolina residents the benefits of following heart-healthy habits.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)—This February during American Heart Month, DHEC is reminding South Carolina residents the benefits of following heart-healthy habits.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death in America and worldwide and was the number one cause of death in SC in 2021. It is also a leading cause of early death and disability.
Data has shown younger adults are starting to have heart disease more often due to obesity and high blood pressure occurring earlier in life, say officials.
Although people older than 65 are at the greatest risk, heart disease is the second-leading cause of death for those 45 to 64 years old, third-leading cause of death for people 25 to 44 years old and sixth-leading cause of death for those as young as 18 to 24, according to a press release issued by DHEC.
DHEC says, African Americans face a higher risk of developing heart disease than Caucasians. In 2021, 3,223 African Americans died from heart disease statewide.
Virginie Daguise, PhD, Director of DHEC’s Bureau of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention says, “An increase in drug use, smoking and alcohol use as coping mechanisms combined with less physical activity during periods of lock downs over the past few years can all contribute to an unhealthy heart. It’s incredibly important to make sure your lifestyle is supporting a strong heart.”
Tips for a healthy heart include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Regularly checking cholesterol and blood pressure numbers
- Not smoking and limiting exposure to second-hand smoke
- Limiting alcohol use
- Taking medications as directed
- Managing diabetes
- Eating a healthy diet that’s low in fat, cholesterol and salt
- Exercising for at least 30 minutes most days of the week
To learn more about heart disease, visit scdhec.gov.