Hearts aren't just for Valentines Day. They're in focus all month long.
Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? February is Heart Health Month, a national observance meant to increase the awareness of heart disease. This is an important aspect of health risk management as many people in the workforce have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease and may not even know it. Complications from heart disease can lead to medical claims and sometimes catastrophic medical events such as strokes or heart attacks.
What is heart disease?
The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which is the buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart itself. This plaque buildup can limit the flow of blood to the heart and lead to a heart attack. Plaque can also buildup in the blood vessels traveling to the brain and result in a stroke.
What are the risk factors for heart disease?
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Genetics and family history
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices like tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet
- Being overweight or obese
How can heart disease be prevented and treated?
- Scheduling annual preventive checkups with a physician
- Eating a healthy diet recommended by the American Heart Association
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly and incorporating these Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
- Quitting tobacco use with resources from smokefree.gov
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Managing chronic diseases, especially diabetes
- Managing stress
- Taking prescribed medication
Worksite wellness programs are an effective way for employers to promote heart health awareness. Companies can host annual biometric screenings for their employees where their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and weight are checked to help employees determine their health status and risk factors. The data gathered about the entire employee population from these screenings can then be used to put targeted programs in place that promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent disease. Encourage your employees to wear red on Wear Red Day in support of heart health awareness.
Having healthy employees means less absenteeism and improved productivity as well as decreased medical claims. Our Health Risk Management department can help you design a worksite wellness program. Contact us today.