HARRISBURG – Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy urged all Pennsylvanians, especially women, to get their blood pressure checked during a special American Heart Month event recently in the Capitol Rotunda.
“High blood pressure is a silent killer,” Murphy said. “There are often no signs and symptoms of high blood pressure; but it is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. In fact, the American Heart Association says heart disease kills approximately one in three women in the U.S. each year – more than breast cancer.
“The good news is that we can prevent and control heart disease. Get your blood pressure checked regularly and visit your health care provider to talk about your heart health. Simple lifestyle changes may save your life.”
Murphy was joined by the secretaries of Aging, PennDOT, Conservation and Natural Resources, Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Physician General, as well as Barb Bowker, chair of the American Heart Association, Capital Region Division board of directors.
“Thanks to life-saving medical advances and research, more people than ever are beating heart disease,” Bowker said. “However, when almost 90 percent of Americans have one or more risk factor for heart disease, there is much more we can and should be doing to prevent it. We encourage every adult to know their numbers, learn their family history, and talk to their doctor about managing their personal risk factors.”
Nationally, February is recognized as National Heart Month. Throughout much of the month, the state capitol will be lit red at night to raise awareness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Approximately 610,000 people die of heart disease each year.
Key risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure;
- High LDL cholesterol;
- Obesity and being overweight;
- Poor diet;
- Physical inactivity; and
- Excessive alcohol use.
For more information about heart disease and prevention, visit www.health.pa.gov.