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February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart Month. This year, Million Hearts® is encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure and if it's high, to make control their goal.

Heart StethoscopeUncontrolled high blood pressure [PDF-466K] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, about 70 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are four times more likely to die from a stroke and three times more likely to die from heart disease. High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. Today, it is easier than ever to get your blood pressure checked. Along with your health care providers, blood pressure screening is available at pharmacies, drug stores, and even at home using a home blood pressure monitor.

Do you have high blood pressure? Make Control Your Goal

If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control [PDF-689K]:

  • Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and discuss how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card [PDF-921K] from Million Hearts®.
  • Take your blood pressure medication [PDF-538K] as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medication at the same time each day. If you are having trouble with taking your medications on time, paying for your medications, or with side effects, ask your doctor what you can do to make it easier.
  • Quit smoking—and if you don't smoke, don't start. You can find tips and resources at CDC's Smoking and Tobacco website.
  • Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, and it raises blood pressure in most people. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart healthy recipes and meal plans that are lower in sodium.

Learn more about how to reduce your risk for blood pressure and control it if you have high blood pressure at

Are you working with your patients to control their blood pressure?

Join us for a Twitter Chat: For an engaging discussion with cardiovascular experts on how to improve your patients' blood pressure control, join Million Hearts®, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Minority Health, and the Association of Black Cardiologists on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. ET for a Twitter chat. Follow @MillionHeartsUS to join.

Spread the Word

Share information about heart health with your loved ones, colleagues, and friends this month. Join us for these activities:

  • Visit to promote American Heart Month and heart health through your social media channels during February.
  • Be part of the American Heart Month Thunderclap by visiting Million Hearts® hopes to share 100 of the same action-oriented messages about heart health on the same day—Friday, February 27. It only happens if enough people sign up to share the message, so join now!
  • Celebrate Wear Red Day on Friday, February 6 by taking a photo of you and your loved ones wearing red and sharing on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using #ActsofRed and #heartmonth. Include the things YOU do to stay heart-healthy all year long.
  • Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the U.S. The risk is higher for African-American men and adults living in the southeast. February is American Heart Month, and Dr. Derrick Gervin, with CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention, discusses some of the factors contributing to health disparities and ways everyone can live heart healthy.

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  1. Wall, H., Hannah, J., & Wright, J. (2014). Patients with undiagnosed hypertension: Hiding in plain sight. Journal of the American Medical Association, 312(19), 1973–1974.
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