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Florida Department of Health in St. Lucie County Celebrates American Heart Month

By Arlease Hall

February 15, 2017

St Lucie County, FL – February marks the beginning of 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.

“In 2015 we met with over 30 community partners to work on a Community Health Improvement Plan for 2016-2019. Healthy St. Lucie Coalition was formed to promote health where we live, learn, work and play. Collectively, we recognized that childhood and adult obesity, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles are primary risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks,” said Clint Sperber, County Health Officer for the Department of Health in St. Lucie County.

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.

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.

DOH-St. Lucie has developed a model to increase access to health care services through a partnership with the Jessica Clinton MVP Foundation, a powerful advocate for preventing sudden cardiac arrest in children and young adults. This is a free annual event for all children 5-20 years of age, soon to become a bi-annual event; consist of a heart physical, blood pressure check, electrocardiogram (EKG) and an echocardiogram (if required).