Tallahassee, FL. — Each year, the Florida Department of Health recognizes February as American Heart Month, a time to promote heart disease prevention and management efforts at home and across the state. Public health leaders are urging Floridians to optimize their health by improving habits that keep their heart healthy, including regular cholesterol screens. Preventing high blood cholesterol, known as hypercholesterolemia, can lower one’s risk for heart disease and stroke.

“Living a heart-healthy lifestyle begins with knowing your risk factors,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “With heart disease being the leading cause of death in the nation, we encourage Floridians to take preventative measures like getting wellness checks, exercising regularly, and knowing your blood pressure, to improve their overall health and well-being.”

“With good cardiovascular health, you look good, feel good, have more energy, and your immune function improves,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo. “Maintaining good cardiovascular health is an important personal goal for me as a dad, a physician, and as Florida’s Surgeon General. I encourage my fellow Floridians to stay active every day, whether a brisk walk or a fun swim, and to talk to their loved ones and health care providers about how to incorporate healthy habits into their lifestyle.”

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and high blood cholesterol is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and other health problems. Nearly 94 million people over the age of 20 in the United States have high blood cholesterol. Cholesterol can be measured by a health care provider, at a pharmacy, or home using a simple blood test.

The risk of heart disease is increased by unhealthy diets, particularly those high in salt and added sugars, and low levels of physical activity. Tobacco use is also one of the main risk factors contributing to around 10% of all heart-related deaths. Heart disease and high cholesterol levels can be prevented and managed by practicing healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, staying active, not smoking, monitoring cholesterol levels, limiting alcohol use, controlling blood pressure, managing stress, and talking with your health care provider.

Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo encourages Floridians to participate in practices that optimize public health through the Florida Department of Health’s initiative Healthier YouHealthier You is a one-stop shop for Floridians to access resources to promote a healthy lifestyle through healthy habits that promote physical activity and mental wellbeing.  More information on how to manage cholesterol and prevent heart disease can be found on FloridaHealth.gov or flhealthsource.gov/healthier-you.

About the Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health, 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.

Follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.