Which came first – Valentine’s Day or American Heart Month? It doesn’t really matter, they really go hand in hand.

The single best thing you can do for a loved one this Valentine’s Day is to look after your own heart health – and to encourage your loved ones to look after theirs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts – a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the U.S. by 2027 – encourage Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, to make control their goal.

Here are some important stats that they offer about the scope of the problem::

Together, heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing the nation today. On a personal level, families who experience heart disease or stroke have to deal with not only medical bills but also lost wages and the real potential of a decreased standard of living.

  • Approximately 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes occur every year in the United States.

  • More than 800,000 people in the United States die from cardiovascular disease each year—that’s 1 in every 3 deaths, and about 160,000 of them occur in people under age 65.

  • Heart disease kills roughly the same number of people in the United States each year as cancer, lower respiratory diseases (including pneumonia), and accidents combined.

  • Heart disease and stroke cost the nation an estimated $316.6 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2011.

The link between blood pressure and heart health

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure. To learn more about how your blood pressure affects your heart health, see: Understanding blood pressure tests and what your blood pressure numbers mean. And here’s a good infographic from the American Heart Association to help understand your blood pressure readings, along with tips to manage your risks.






















We have some good ideas for employers, too … here are some steps you can take in the workplace to improve your employees’ hearth health.













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