In this week’s article, I want to feature Heart Month which is designated as the month of February. This month strives to educate the public about the importance of improving heart health. This endeavor aims to help people identify and understand helpful adjustments that can be made to increase heart health. There are a number of everyday things that we can do in achieving healthier lives for 2018. With this designation, both the American Heart Association as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have put out some great information.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices. National trends show heart disease death rates are declining more slowly than they have in the past, especially among adults ages 35 to 64. The CDC Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Million Hearts are focused on letting younger adults know they are not immune to heart disease, but that they can reduce their risk—at any age—through lifestyle changes and by managing medical conditions.

Here are some tips from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take control of your heart health:
• Find time to be active. Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. Invite fitness buddies on an afternoon stroll, try an exercise class, or challenge the whole family to a soccer match.

• Make healthy eating a habit. Small changes in your eating habits can make a big difference. Try making healthier versions of your favorite recipes by looking for ways to lower sodium and trans fat, and add more fruits and vegetables.

• Quit tobacco—for good. Smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products affects nearly every organ in your body, including your heart. Quitting can be tough, but it can be easier when you feel supported. Visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for great tips on how to quit.

• Know your numbers. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for heart disease. Ask your health care team to check your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels regularly and help you take steps to control your levels.

• Stick to the ’script. Taking your medications can be tough, especially if you feel fine. But sticking with your medication routine is important for managing and controlling conditions that could put your heart at risk.

The American Heart Association (AHA) is an organization that helps bring heart health knowledge, leadership and resources to all levels of government. Whether it is the federal, state or local level, the AHA identifies ways of educating the public and develops systems of care that work to help acute conditions, which will result in helping to improve the patient’s outcomes. Many of these systems coordinate impacted people to help them recover, while also improving the cost-effectiveness of their care. These systems of care generally are tailored by more localized methods that focus on certain regions of the nation and individual states. The Association uses collected data that helps a seamless transition from each stage of care. It is with these types of awareness and outreach that they hope will save lives. If you would like to learn more information about healthy tips on cardiovascular health, you can visit the American Heart Association.

The 86th Legislative Session is currently underway! If you would like to follow the Texas House and learn more information on news, committees or other aspects of the legislative body, you can access its website at Texas House of Representatives. If you would like to follow the Texas Senate, you can visit Texas Senate. Additionally, the Governor’s office website is full of important resources, which you can access by visiting Office of the Texas Governor.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces (Part) County. He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672.