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Discussing Healthy Hearts: February is National American Heart Month

February is National American Heart Month, and is a good time to discuss heart health with your loved ones. There are many resources online that can help you learn more about heart health and there is help available in your community as well.

A plethora of information about chronic heart disease in New York State is available at the New York State Department of Health’s web site.(External Link) As with all chronic diseases, the best method of treatment is prevention.

An excellent resource for prevention information is a program called “Million Hearts.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local partners launched the program in September 2011 to combat chronic heart disease.

Million Hearts’ goal is preventing one million heart attacks and strokes over five years. Million Hearts encourages heart-healthy choices including avoiding tobacco use and reducing the amount of sodium and trans fat in your diet. The ABCS of heart health -a focus of the program- was created to help people at risk remember - Aspirin for people at risk, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation. Exercise is also highly recommended.

In addition to heart disease, older adults are disproportionately affected by other chronic disease and conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, as well as by disabilities that result from injuries such as falls. NY State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) is working in a public private partnership along with the New York State Department of Health to combat heart disease with initiatives like the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.

The Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) is an evidence-based program developed by Stanford University. It uses peer leaders to help people better manage many chronic conditions like arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The two hour per week, six week program has improved quality of life by helping people realize the value of physical activity, eating nutritiously and interacting as an active participant in their health care choices.

“Older adults who participate in the CDSMP program learn skills that will help them to bring their chronic condition under control and improve their quality of life,” said Corinda Crossdale, Acting Director of NYSOFA. “I encourage those who are eligible to enroll by contacting their county office for the aging. The program is available in New York City, the Capital District, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, Long Island and Western New York.”

For more information about how you can become more heart healthy by understanding the risks of heart disease, visit Million Hearts(External Link) online. To learn more about CDSMP, visit the “Programs and Services” area of the NYSOFA web site.(External Link)

Did You Know?
Nearly 2200 Americans die each day from cardiovascular disease, and the disease costs the nation $444 billion in health care annually. One out of three deaths in the United States is due to heart disease. These figures were released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2012.