For Immediate Release
February 4, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

February is American Heart Month

In recognition of American Heart Month, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) encourages all Kansans to adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the threat of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States and Kansas.

Heart disease is largely preventable, but only if you know your risks and how to lower them. Some of the risk factors that lead to heart disease are heredity, age and race - factors that cannot be changed. Fortunately, most risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity, stress and diabetes are within your control and can be prevented. 

“Every adult should know their ideal weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as work with their primary physician to reach their ideal goals,” said Robert Moser, MD, Acting Secretary and State Health Officer for KDHE. “In addition, stop smoking now as the benefits from quitting reduces heart disease risk immediately and continues to improve to the point that after a year from your last cigarette, the risks are half that of someone who still smokes!”
Steps one can take to follow a heart-healthy lifestyle include:

In addition to making healthy choices, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack to save lives. Heart attacks are the cause of about one in three heart disease deaths and an estimated 78,000 adults in Kansas have had one. Some are sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people don’t realize what's wrong and wait too long before receiving help. In Kansas, more than half of heart disease deaths occur before reaching a hospital, clinic or medical center. Recognize the following signs and symptoms and call 9-1-1 immediately at the first sign of a heart attack:

For more information on heart disease, contact the Kansas Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program at 785-291-3195.