February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to remind us to focus on the importance of heart health and encourage our friends and families to do the same. Cardiovascular diseases claim 2,300 Americans each day. The heart does more work than any other physical muscle in the body, pumping over 2,000 gallons of blood per day. Making healthy choices and staying informed can help improve your heart health and lower your risk for cardiovascular disease.

High blood pressure, also known as HBP or hypertension, is a leading risk factor when it comes to the development of heart disease. HBP occurs when the force of blood pushing against the wall of your blood vessels is consistently too high. High blood pressure increases the workload of the heart blood vessels, making them work harder and less efficiently. Over time, tissue damage occurs in the arteries that can lead to heart attack and stroke. Because there are typically no symptoms associated with HBP, it’s often considered a silent killer.

When it comes to HBP, there are a number of modifiable risk factors that you can change to help prevent and manage high blood pressure as well as decreasing your risk for developing cardiovascular disease.

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight is key because excess weight puts a strain on the heart and vascular system.
  2. Exercising regularly is great for your heart. Not getting enough physical activity puts you more at risk for HBP.
  3. Make sure to watch your alcohol intake. Regular, heavy use of alcohol can cause your blood pressure to increase dramatically, along with many other serious health problems.
  4. Kick the habit. The nicotine in cigarette smoke raises your blood pressure and heart rate.

Improving your heart health can be as simple as making some healthy lifestyle changes, and can have a big impact when it comes to your risk for heart disease. If you or someone you love is suffering from high blood pressure and looking for new treatment options, studies are enrolling now in your local area that may help.  Research doctors are evaluating new treatment options and qualified participants may have access to potential new HBP treatments.  Participants often receive care from board-certified physicians and other medical staff, and may receive compensation for time and travel expenses. To learn more about these studies and to see if you qualify CLICK HERE.