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Take Care of Your Heart

Every 38 seconds people die from cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.

U.S. physicians have combated cardiovascular disease better in recent years, as the death rate from heart disease fell about 38 percent from 2003-2013.

Still, the disease claims about 2,300 Americans daily, making it the leading cause of death in the U.S., where February is American Heart Month. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that heart disease kills about 610,000 annually in the U.S., which is about one out of every four deaths, making it the top killer of men and women nationwide.

The CDC also estimates that, annually, about 790,000 suffer a heart attack, which occurs when blood supply is cut off to the heart.

Globally, cardiovascular disease and strokes account for 17.9 million deaths, making it the leading cause of death worldwide. The number of deaths is expected to surpass 23.6 million in the next dozen years.

Heart health is an important issue, especially for the older generation, as about 50 percent of Americans between the ages of 45 and 65 suffer from some type of heart-related ailment, according to the White House.

The best steps to take to reduce the risk of getting coronary disease are consuming a healthy diet, exercising at least three times a week, maintaining a healthy weight, monitoring blood pressure and cholesterol, controlling alcohol intake, and abstaining from tobacco and illegal drugs.

“Heart disease can often be prevented by identifying risk factors and making healthy lifestyle choices,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a statement. Medicare patients can reduce their risk through appropriate preventive services, including cardiovascular disease screening tests and intensive behavioral therapy for cardiovascular disease.

February was designated as American Heart Month when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Proclamation 3566 on Dec. 30, 1963 – a time when more than 50 percent of deaths nationwide were linked to cardiovascular disease.

Congress then requested that the president sign an annual proclamation that designated February as American Heart Month.