Show Your Heart Some Love This Month During Heart Health Month

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In the U.S., 1 in 5 deaths is from heart disease. Let that number sink in for a moment. 1 in 5.

Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States and it is the leading cause of death for most racial and ethnic groups including African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hispanic. Heart disease is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of conditions including coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart attack and stroke. More than 20 million adults in the U.S. 20 years and older have coronary heart disease (CHD), the most common type of heart disease. In Kansas, that number is approximately 148,000 adults.

Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease. How long you have had a risk factor also plays a role in your risk for developing heart disease during your lifetime. Certain health conditions, lifestyle behaviors, and a family history of heart disease can put you at an increased risk for heart disease. These risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use

Heart disease and diabetes go hand in hand and many simple lifestyle changes that improve your heart also help you better manage your diabetes. So, you may be wondering what the correlation is between heart disease and diabetes. High blood sugar levels (diabetes) can over time damage blood vessels and nerves that control the heart. If you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to have heart disease than someone without diabetes, and at a younger age too.

Chronic stress is also hard on your heart. It may lead to high blood pressure which increases your risk for a heart attack or stroke. When stress hits hard, like it did during the pandemic, many of us may find ourselves overeating, and eating more less-than-healthy comfort foods. These less-than-healthy food also may lead to weight gain (overweight and obesity) which is another risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. Remember, having more than one risk factor increases your risk of developing heart disease!

Do you find yourself stuck and needing to make lifestyle changes to benefit your heart? We have a program for you!

Join us during February for our Dining with Diabetes program. This program is designed for participants at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, diagnosed prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, or caretakers and support persons for individuals with type 2 diabetes. A bonus, the knowledge and skills in this class will also benefit your heart!

In this 4-week series, participants will gain knowledge and hands on experience in:

  • Planning healthy meals and snacks
  • Modifying recipes
  • Understanding the nutrition label
  • Practicing portion control
  • Increasing physical activity
  • Developing SMART goals

For more information, please call (913) 715-7000 or email

Interested in learning more about heart disease and diabetes? Visit these resources:

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