Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women and the American Heart Association is raising awareness during American Heart Month.
Feb. 3 is National Wear Red Day, an annual effort to raise awareness that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women.
On Friday, the American Heart Association urged everyone to take a hard look at their own heart health and explore ways to help improve it.
“We have to be aware of all of these incredibly important factors that make up our cardiovascular health,” said Kristan Hurley, the Executive Director of the Southeastern Michigan Heart Association.
The American Heart Association has nicknamed those factors Life’s Essential 8.
“This is whether or not you’re a smoker, you know, how many fruits and vegetables you’re consuming and looking at new nutrition, how much physical activity you’re getting, how much sleep you’re getting at night is a major component of what makes up your cardiovascular health,” said Hurley.
She says sleep was recently added to the Essential 8 because of new research on its importance to heart health.
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“Even if you’re eating well and you’re exercising and all of the things, but you’re not getting enough sleep, we have found, the research shows, that it was having a detrimental impact on individuals’ cardiovascular health,” said Hurley.
Other Essential 8 factors include your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels and blood sugar.
My Life Check is a free online quiz to evaluate how well you’re doing on each factor. Fact sheets are also available for download with helpful information on how to improve the areas where you fall short.
Hurley says it’s important for everyone, including women, to make sure their heart health is a priority. “We’re taking care of families, we’re working, we’re out in the community making an impact, and we’re just the last ones that we’re thinking of, so really reducing our stress and knowing what those risk factors are, it’s going to make a big difference in women, really reducing their risk and improving outcomes.”
To take the free online heart health quiz or to access the heart health fact sheets, visit the American Heart Association’s website by clicking here.