Florida Department of Health in Dixie Celebrates American Heart Month
February 23, 2017
Cross City, FL - February marks American Heart Month and it is a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health and help fight heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in Florida and the nation.
According to Barbara Locke, Health Department Administrator, Dixie County’s incidence rates of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure are among the highest in the state. Many of these cases are preventable and individuals can take steps to reduce their risk. It is the job of the Department of Health in Dixie County to partner with local organizations to educate and empower residents.
Each year, heart disease causes one in four deaths in the United States. There were 42,835 heart attack hospitalizations in Florida in 2014 or an average of 117 heart attack hospitalizations each day. About half of all Americans have at least one of the three risk factors for heart disease which include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. While all Americans are at risk for heart disease, the non-Hispanic black community is at the greatest risk.
The department recently launched a new pilot program in Dixie County to combat heart disease called Heart Heath Plus. The pilot program is being conducted in 17 Florida counties that showed the greatest need for heart disease prevention programs. Heart Health Plus implements evidence-based strategies to engage faith-based organizations, health systems and local communities in heart disease awareness and prevention activities.
In the coming months the Department of Health in Dixie County will be working with partners to implement a self-monitoring program for high blood pressure, cholesterol and other risk factors related to heart health. The goal is to encourage individuals to take personal responsibility for their heart health and to change behaviors and risk factors within their control. The Health Department is actively seeking partners for this program according to Health Educator, Lola Butler.
Many of the risk factors for heart disease can be eliminated with diet, exercise and taking steps to quit smoking. During American Heart Month, follow these simple tips to keep your heart healthy and fight heart disease.
Add exercise to your daily routine, even if it’s just taking regular walks with family and friends; Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about your heart health; Increase healthy eating by cooking heart healthy meals; and Take steps to quit smoking by utilizing the Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way Program.
About the Florida Department of Health
The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.