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"American Heart Month" Focus Is On Preventing Heart Disease

PHOTO: February provides Nevadans the chance to learn more about how to help prevent America's leading killer: heart disease. Photo courtesy of NASA.
PHOTO: February provides Nevadans the chance to learn more about how to help prevent America's leading killer: heart disease. Photo courtesy of NASA.
February 5, 2014

RENO, Nevada - Efforts are under way in Nevada during February to educate people about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans.

The American Heart Association's annual "American Heart Month" campaign is focused on education and prevention of a disease that kills one in four Americans.

Jennifer Merback, communications director for the association in Nevada and Utah, said prevention begins with understanding our own health.

"Knowing your numbers," she said, "which means knowing your blood pressure, your cholesterol, your BMI - body mass index - visiting your doctor to know those numbers."

Prevention then focuses on the value of living a "heart-healthy lifestyle" which involves daily exercise, eating healthy and doing one's best to handle stress, Merback said.

Another big part of American Heart Month is "National Wear Red Day" on Friday. It's meant to raise awareness of the fact that heart disease kills one in three American women, and causes more deaths among females than all forms of cancer combined.

Merback said being overweight and out of shape are big factors in heart disease, but smoking remains the most deadly problem.

"It is the No. 1 preventive cause of death," she said. "Many people think obesity is coming up there but smoking is still No. 1 in the U.S. and Nevada."

According to the association, slightly more than 4,800 Nevadans died from heart disease in 2010, accounting for 25 percent of all deaths in the state that year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heart disease kills about 600,000 Americans every year.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV