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Heart Care

'Million Hearts' Program Launched

U.S. health officials have set an ambitious goal: prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. The goal is both easy and hard; easy, because officials know the steps needed to improve heart health, and hard, because the program focuses on prevention.

Photo of couple jogging in setting of autumn trees

"When prevention succeeds, it's invisible," says Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Besides leaders from the U.S. public health sector, private organizations such as the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, YMCA, and a national pharmacy chain are taking part in the Million Hearts campaign.

Focus is prevention

The program focuses on primary preventive measures: encouraging Americans to take aspirin if they are found to be at risk for heart disease, get their high blood pressure under control, manage blood cholesterol levels, and stop smoking.

"Cardiovascular disease is a big problem and Million Hearts is a big solution," says Thomas Frieden, M.D., director of the CDC.

If the program is successful, Dr. Frieden estimates that 10 million more Americans will get their high blood pressure under control; 20 million more Americans will be treating their high cholesterol effectively; 4 million fewer Americans will smoke; and consumption of artificial trans fat will be cut by half and sodium consumption by 20 percent.

"I am confident we can save a million hearts," Dr. Frieden says.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Heart Association – High Blood Pressure

American Heart Association - Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol

U.S. Health and Human Services - Million Hearts

November 2011

Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Physical inactivity is just as big a risk factor for heart disease as high blood pressure and smoking. Here are some tips to help you more toward a more active and heart-healthy life:

  • Choose activities you like. The key to starting and sticking with an exercise program is to pick activities that you enjoy. Then choose a convenient time and place to work out. Do a lot of different activities, instead of relying on just one, so that you don't become bored with your routine. Finding an exercise partner may make it easier to stick to a regular schedule.

  • Build up your endurance. Start out by exercising slowly, especially if you haven't been active for a while. Gradually build up how hard, how long, and how often you exercise. It is natural to feel soreness in your muscles and joints when starting or changing an exercise program. Listen to your body, and don't ignore any unexplained pain in your joints, ankles, feet, or legs. Also take plenty of time for gentle stretching at the end of each session. This can help you become more flexible.

  • Drink plenty of water. While you exercise, drink some water every 15 minutes, especially in hot, humid conditions. Be sure to drink before you feel thirsty. You can't always rely on thirst alone to tell you when you need more fluids.

  • Talk with your doctor. Check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. This is especially important if you haven't been active for a while. It's also important if you have a chronic health problem, such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, or if you are at high risk for developing these problems.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

© 2000-2011 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.