February is Heart Health Month

This is a time to raise awareness about heart disease, historically the number one cause of death among Americans. Heart disease can lead to heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke. This year, the observance takes on a more urgent tone due to COVID-19 and the complications associated with the virus.

Know the Numbers:

  • Heart disease kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.
  • Eighty-three percent of Americans believe that heart attacks can be prevented but aren’t motivated to do anything.
  • Seventy-two percent of Americans don’t consider themselves at risk for heart disease.
  • Fifty-eight percent of Americans have not attempted to improve their heart health.

COVID-19 and Cardiovascular Health

Moving forward, those numbers mentioned above may significantly increase due to COVID-19. There is evidence that some patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may show signs of heart damage, even weeks or months after feeling better, according to two studies published in JAMA Cardiology. This damage can occur even if they didn’t have an underlying heart disease or weren’t sick enough to be hospitalized.

These complications can include myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle. The concern is that it could lead to an increase in heart failure in the future.

Doctors are also worried that people who have a pre-existing heart condition may have put off being properly monitored out of fear of being exposed to the virus during a medical appointment.

Thanks to the stress of the last year combined with an increase in the number of people who packed on extra pounds during the pandemic, the concern about cardiovascular disease is higher than ever.

Heart Disease Myths

As part of Heart Health Month, it is important to separate fact from fiction. Here are some of the most common myths about heart disease.

Myth: Women don’t need to be concerned about heart disease.

Reality: Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over age 65.

Myth: Heart disease is for old people.

Reality: As early as childhood and adolescence, plaque can start accumulating in the arteries and later lead to clogged arteries. One in three Americans have cardiovascular disease, but not all of them are senior citizens. Even young and middle-aged people can develop heart problems — especially now that obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other risk factors are becoming more common at a younger age.

Myth: You should wait until middle age to worry about cholesterol.

Reality: The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked every five years starting at age 20. It’s a good idea to start having a cholesterol test even earlier if your family has a history of heart disease. Children in these families can have high cholesterol levels, putting them at increased risk for developing heart disease as adults.


An estimated 80 percent of all cardiovascular disease cases can be prevented. The key is maintaining healthy habits such as exercise and diet. Here is a closer look at the areas you should focus on.

Exercise – Federal guidelines suggest 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five times a week. Some of the best workouts include swimming, cycling, rowing, treadmill running, and powerwalking. Wearing an activity tracker is a good way to encourage you to increase your daily movement. About 10,000 steps a day is a standard target. Other ideas include yard work like weeding and raking, parking your car in places farther away to encourage walking, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.

Diet – Adding foods associated with heart-healthy benefits, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and healthy oils like olive oil are highly encouraged. These foods are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that lower blood pressure and LDL [bad] cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes, and help maintain a healthy weight, all of which can lower your risk of heart disease.

Screening – It is important to get checked for your risk of heart disease. You can get regular blood pressure monitoring or cholesterol checks to monitor levels. You can also take a deeper dive into your heart health with a Heart Health Panel from Any Lab Test Now®.

This panel can be used as a baseline assessment of your heart health and possible risk. There are four components provided within the Heart Health Panel.

  • Lipoprotein Particle Protein Basic (LPP) – Overall cardiovascular risk assessment.
  • Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP) – Evaluate the body’s electrolyte balance and the status of major body organs.
  • C-Reactive Protein (CRP) High Sensitivity – Inflammation marker used to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Homocysteine – Evaluate the risk of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Results are returned quickly, so you can get started on a path to better health should your test reveal any signs of heart disease.

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now® wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including testing for heart disease.

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for your lab testing needs. Each of our 185+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

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