February Is American Heart Month: A Spotlight on Blood Pressure
In honor of American Heart Month, this year we want to highlight one of the main components of heart health, blood pressure. Each year, groups like the American Heart Association spearhead awareness during this month. It was a presidential proclamation that started this drive to raise awareness, but it’s grown much larger than that over time. The following guide explains why while providing tips to stay your most healthy.
What Is American Heart Month?
Heart Awareness Month is a global movement centered on a heart disease awareness campaign. In the United States, the month is known as American Heart Month. The importance of this annual event cannot be overstated. That’s because nearly half of U.S. citizens have some form of cardiovascular disease. Sadly, many don’t even realize it or that they may be at risk.
Heart Disease Awareness Month in 2022 focuses on blood pressure for various reasons. For starters, it’s one of the best and simplest measures of heart health. Checking your blood pressure only takes a few seconds, and it can be done in the comfort of your home. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for both stroke and heart disease.
Not many serious diseases allow a person to test for internal risk factors right at home. Thanks to American Heart Month in 2022, it might be possible to make more people aware that they can.
When Is American Heart Month?
The world celebrates American Heart Month in February of every year. This started back in 1964, and February was perfect since folks already focus on the heart (Valentine’s Day) that month. If there’s one day you’ll hear people asking, “Why is everyone wearing red today” in 2022, though, it will be on February 4. That’s because this is the day that people wear red to raise awareness for heart health.
This trend kicked off at different times and for different reasons across the globe. For instance, the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund spearheaded the Heart Awareness Month colors to bring recognition to congenital heart disease. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute did the same — but their goal was to raise awareness among women. Regardless of the reason, February 4 is all about red!
The Importance of Monitoring Heart Health at Home
Many people think that checking their blood pressure during doctor’s visits is enough. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. As it turns out, there are various reasons for you to monitor your blood pressure and other heart health vitals at home — whether it’s American Heart Month or not:
- Find potential problems early
- Monitor whether treatment is working
- Potential reduction in healthcare costs (i.e., fewer doctor visits)
- Check if there are variations between at-home and clinic readings
- Provides an increased sense of control
National Red Day and Heart Awareness Month are great for reminding us about cardiovascular health. It’s of vital importance, though, that you think of your well-being throughout the year. Monitoring your heart health at home is an easy way to do this that provides an abundance of benefits. Learn just how impactful technology can be in improving heart health here.
How to Check for Heart Disease at Home
At Zemplee, we believe in learning how to check for heart disease at home. Even if American Heart Month raises awareness, it won’t mean much if folks don’t know how to check their blood pressure at home. While heart disease and other cardiovascular issues need a professional diagnosis, knowing how to check blood pressure at home will give you insight into your risk factors or whether a doctor’s visit is necessary.
Fortunately, new digital blood pressure readers make the process easy. Here’s all you need to know:
- Don’t exercise, drink caffeine, or smoke within 30 minutes of measuring
- Sit in an upright position
- Make sure the cuff is large enough for your arm
- Ensure your back is supported
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Rest your arm at heart level
- The bottom of the cuff should be positioned directly above the elbow bend
- Prior to taking the measurement, relax for five minutes
You’ll then activate the machine to check your blood pressure. The machine will provide your systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) pressures. Here’s our guide to understanding your blood pressure ranges.Fortunately, it’s not rocket science.
This chart by the American Heart Association shows the normal blood pressure ranges in green.
The blood pressure systolic rate is the pressure your heartbeat exerts, and the diastolic rate is the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats.
Indications of elevated blood pressure:
- systolic blood pressure above 120 or
- diastolic blood pressure above 80
Indications of Stage I hypertension.
- systolic blood pressure above 130 or
- diastolic blood pressure above 80
Take Heart Health Seriously
American Heart Month 2022 brings an opportunity for everyone to take their cardiovascular health seriously. When checking your blood pressure at home, though, keep in mind that a healthy range can vary by age. For instance, normal blood pressure for seniors is below 150/80 as opposed to 130/80.
Regardless of your demographics, simply take the time to make sure you’re within the normal blood pressure range. It just takes a few seconds and could save your life. Check your blood pressure and make this the best and most influential American Heart Month of your life!
From, The Zemplee Team