by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern
February 2022 marks the 58th consecutive American Heart Month in the United States. “First commemorated by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, American Heart Month serves the purpose of highlighting the importance of cardiovascular health and raising awareness of the risks associated with heart disease,” which is currently the leading cause of death in the nation. Many people know that the eyes can be a window into a person’s health, however, what people don’t realize is that poor cardiovascular health can also be a major contributor to vision loss. “Thanks to medical innovation, we have a better understanding of heart disease risk factors, such as hypertension, bad cholesterol, smoking, being overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure and high blood sugar in the eyes are among the leading causes of retinopathy which can damage the blood supply to the eyes, and can cause vision loss.” Moreover, “To stave off hypertension and diabetes it is important to engage in regular physical activity, maintain a healthy diet and weight, avoid smoking and vaping, lower stress levels, and get adequate sleep…” It is also important to schedule regular visits with your primary care physician to monitor your cardiovascular health. To test your blood pressure at home, talking blood pressure monitors that can read results in English and Spanish and other related items are available for purchase on the MaxiAids website. To learn more about the risks of heart disease and stroke and how to prevent them, read the article What Can Your Eyes Tell You About Heart Disease? or visit the Million Hearts website, here. To read President Biden’s views on American Heart Day, read “A Proclamation on American Heart Month, 2022” on the White House website.