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February Is Heart Health Month [AUDIO]

Flickr User US Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District

Physicians and Federal Health Officials are emphasizing prevention during Heart Health Month this February.

Cardiologist Dr. Janet Wright, Executive Director of the Million Hearts Initiative says while the heart disease death rate is falling, the prevalence of the disease in the population is increasing. She says “we’re very concerned with increasing obesity and diabetes in the country and really the inability to treat cardiovascular disease across our entire population in an effective way.”

Dr. Wright wants people to learn the A,B,C’s of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. “I want folks to know that their blood pressure is, know what their cholesterol is, know how to get help if they want to stop smoking and to know whether or not they need to take aspirin.”

Heart Health Month is being promoted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Their press release says Medicare provides coverage for cardiovascular screening blood tests, ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms and smoking and tobacco-use cessation counseling at low or no cost to qualified beneficiaries as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The also list a number of steps you can take to lower your risk for heart disease.

Do watch your blood Pressure and cholesterol levels

Do maintain a healthy weight

Do eat a healthy diet and limit fried and fatty foods

Do stay active

Do find healthy ways to cope with stress

Don’t smoke

You can also get more information, including how to register for medicare at their web site: www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-633-4227 if you want a copy of “Staying Health: Medicare’s Preventive Services” TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Dr. Wright says the One Million Hearts Initiative was launched in September of 2011. She says it’s a national initiative that has an audacious goal ‘to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes in five years’. Wright says the initiative is co-led by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. She says they’re also getting help for the program across the Federal Family of Departments and the private sector.

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