February: It’s all About the Heart

February: It’s all About the Heart

While many people associate February with Valentine’s Day and loved ones, it’s also a great time to show some love to ourselves. February is American Heart Health Month, which was created to spread awareness about heart disease and advocate for cardiovascular health. Heart disease accounts for about one in three deaths in the United States every year, according to the American Heart Association.

Globally, cardiovascular disease kills almost 18 million people every year, making it the leading cause of death worldwide – about 80% of those deaths are from heart attack or stroke. In the U.S., 126 million people had some form of cardiovascular disease between 2015 to 2018. 

Where you live can be a significant determining factor of your heart health after genetics, according to the Gallup-Healthways annual well-being study, some regions of the U.S. have much higher rates of heart attacks while, comparatively, others see lower rates year over year. Why is that?

When analyzed, many of the cities that rank as the healthiest had the highest number of gyms and lowest number of fast-food restaurants per capita. Using Buxton’s SCOUT platform, we cross-checked this information and looked at the access to healthcare in each of these cities. 

The cities analyzed include: 

•    Oakland, California
•    Minneapolis, Minnesota
•    Boulder, Colorado
•    Cleveland, Ohio
•    New York, New York

City Analysis

Ranked as the heart healthiest city in the U.S. by ACLS Medical Training, Oakland has a wide range of healthcare accessibility. With hospitals and clinics specializing in women’s, teen, children’s and even Native American heart health, everyone has access to the care they need. The image below highlights the abundance of healthcare sites in Oakland.

Minneapolis and Cleveland are well-known leaders in the healthcare industry, particularly when it comes to heart health. The Minneapolis Heart Institute is one of the top-ranking heart centers in the country, while Cleveland is a leader in cardiovascular health – its world-famous Cleveland Clinic is a highly referred to patients for heart surgeries. 

Though Boulder and New York also have great options for healthcare, it’s the lifestyle in these cities that makes them heart healthy. Many people in Colorado enjoy mountainous outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing, and Boulder specifically has the lowest heart attack rate in the country. 

Some might be surprised that New York known as a hub for heart health, but it is one of the best cities to get around on foot or by bike. As most people know, many residents in NYC don’t own cars and prefer public transportation. New York also has an abundance of healthy food offerings, and like Oakland, the nation’s largest city has many options for good healthcare. See the image below that shows overwhelming number of options for healthcare in the Big Apple. 

While we spotlight cardiovascular health in February, it is important to take care our hearts all year round. Whether you live in a heart-healthy area or not, there are many ways to prevent heart disease every day: not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, and getting regular checkups.