American Heart Month


February is American Heart Month, a time to educate ourselves and our families on ways to maintain a healthy heart. 134,000 people in Kansas and 354,000 in Missouri have coronary heart disease.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says “The most common type of heart disease is coronary heart disease, also called clogged arteries. It causes heart attacks and is the #1 killer of women in the United States. Healthy eating and physical activity go a long way to preventing heart disease, and keeping it from getting worse if you already have it.”

So, there’s much you can do to prevent heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. 

The CDC lists 4 Ways to Take Control of Your Heart Health

Don’t smoke. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, learn how to quit.

Manage conditions. Work with your health care team to manage conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This includes taking any medicines you have been prescribed. Learn more about preventing and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Make heart-healthy eating changes.  Eat food low in trans-fat, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium. Try to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and aim for low sodium options. Learn more about how to reduce sodium.

Stay active. Get moving for at least 150 minutes per week. You can even break up the 30 minutes into 10-minute blocks. Learn more about how to get enough physical activity.

Hospice and Palliative Care Can Address the Symptoms of Advanced Heart Disease

“We offer Heart Matters programming in both palliative care and hospice,” states Dr. Pam Harris. “Patients may choose whether they want to adhere to the stricter approach, depending upon their goals of care.”

Researchers Lisa LeMond and Larry A. Allen* find that “advanced heart failure is a disease process that carries a high burden of symptoms, suffering, and death. Palliative care can complement traditional care to improve symptom amelioration, patient-caregiver communication, emotional support, and medical decision making.”

Palliative care provides “a focus on symptom control, a more holistic approach to end of life, and improved communication. These targeted services have the potential to improve patient and family satisfaction and lead to more efficient use of resources, throughout the disease process and especially in the last days of life.”

Therefore, these researchers recommend that palliative care consults earlier in heart disease can significantly improve quality of life for both heart failure patients and their families.

We’re Here for You!

If you have questions about hospice and palliative care and heart disease, please call us at 816.363.2600 or ask your physician to schedule a palliative consult.

Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is the area’s leading resource on symptom control and comfort care. We are here to help you throughout a serious illness, from diagnosis onward. Through a fellowship with the University of Kansas, we help train the physicians of tomorrow. Learn more about choices for care today!

Please take time during American Heart Month to educate yourself about heart health and options for care!

*Palliative Care and Hospice in Advanced Heart Failure, Lisa LeMond and Larry A. Allen, Science Direct

The mission of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative Care is to bring expert care, peace of mind, comfort, guidance, and hope to people who are affected by life-limiting illness or by grief. And, our vision: each person in our community is valued from life through death and each family is supported in their grief.

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