Heart disease is the number one cause of death in Arkansas. While anyone, including children, can develop heart disease there are many ways to reduce your risk and lower complications.
February is American Heart Month, a time to renew efforts to raise awareness of heart disease and its consequences. Many of you participated in National Wear Red Day. The American Heart Association encourages everyone not only to wear red, but also to explain what it means to Go Red--
* Get Your Numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.
* Own Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, be physically active and eat healthy.
* Raise Your Voice: Advocate for more women-related research and education.
* Educate Your Family: Make healthy food choices for you & your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
* Donate: Show your support with a donation of time or money.
The American Heart Association has also developed an easy to use online tool to help you get started. "Life's Simple 7" is a seven-step guide that defines important ways to reduce risk for heart disease and stroke: manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight and stop smoking. This tool along with the free online assessment tool My Life Check can provide great customized advice on steps to live a healthier life. You can find the guide at www.heart.org
The General Assembly has passed several pieces of legislation over the years in an effort to decrease the number of heart attacks and strokes. These include requiring health care plans to cover treatment for morbid obesity and prohibiting smoking in worksites and public places.
We will continue to evaluate ways we can improve. Together we can all do our part to make Arkansas "Heart Healthy".