February is American Heart Month

As we settle into 2024, it’s a good time to consider new habits for a healthier year. February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and its partners encourage you to think about making a few simple changes to your daily routine so that can help you reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Choose healthy meals and snacks.  Include a lot of fruit and vegetables in your diet, and choose foods lower in sodium and saturated fat. Try some heart healthy recipes and check out the MyPlate resources from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Make physical activity a regular part of your day.  Adults should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, running, bicycling a week. Learn more about ways to increase your physical activity throughout the day on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s physical activity page.
  • Take steps to quit smoking by contacting Quit Now Virginia, which offers free telephone or web-based counseling services and also offers Text2Quit support, self-help materials and referrals to local resources. 1-800- QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) or learn more at the Quit Now Virginia Website.
  • Check your blood pressure.  Read more about ways to prevent and manage blood pressure. Here are some helpful tips for talking with a doctor to manage and check your blood pressure.

The CDC has awarded VDH two multi-million-dollar grants to address heart disease in the Commonwealth, named the CDC National Cardiovascular Health Program and the Innovative Cardiovascular Health Program. The two grants will establish the Virginia Cardiovascular Health Program, implemented and managed by the Office of Family Health – Division of Prevention and Health Promotion. The Virginia Cardiovascular Health Program unites state and local partners to implement and evaluate CDC evidence-based strategies to improve blood pressure control, reduce disparities in cardiovascular disease, and connect communities at high risk for heart disease and stroke to clinical and social services. For more information, https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/heart-disease/