Leap into heart health this leap year with Northwest Health

It's a leap year, and that means we all can look forward to an extra day in February -- an extra day to enjoy life, be well, and pursue the things that make us happy. And, while an extra day is nice, what if you could add more years to your life?

Caring for your heart is one of the best ways to increase longevity. Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in 5 adult deaths in the U.S. each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one person dies every 36 seconds from cardiovascular disease. But there are actions you can take right now to reduce the risk of heart disease.

This February, Northwest Health is marking American Heart Month and the 2024 leap year with its Leap into Heart Health educational email series. People who sign up will receive short, fun-filled, fact-filled, potentially life-saving emails designed to help improve heart health. Topics include ways to "spring" into action, "skip" past stress, "hurdle" over harmful habits, "hop" into bed earlier for better rest, and other "steps" anyone can take toward a stronger, healthier heart.

Dr. Anthony Klappa, a Northwest Health cardiologist, tells us, "Most people can reduce the risk of heart disease by adopting a healthy lifestyle, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, and treating high blood pressure. And while this may sound like a lot to manage, in many cases, small adjustments can lead to measurable improvement in heart health."

President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first American Heart Month in February 1964. Several years before that, when he was Senate majority leader, Johnson was a 60-cigarette-per-day smoker and suffered a near-fatal heart attack. He was only 46 years old. Since then, every U.S. president has recognized February as American Heart Month and a time to educate Americans about ways to prevent heart disease.

The Leap into Heart Health email series will be delivered to inboxes every other day in February with a short article and heart health tips you can try right away. The series also includes warnings about symptoms and conditions that may indicate you should see a doctor, especially high blood pressure, high cholesterol and genetic predisposition to heart disease.

"At Northwest Health, we are committed to helping people live healthier and, for most of us, that should start with taking better care of our hearts," says Rick Naegler, Northwest Health chief executive officer. "People who Leap into Heart Health with us this February will find the email content takes only a couple of minutes to read each day, but the advice is fun, sometimes surprising, always informative, and it can be life-saving. I hope everyone will sign up."

To "Leap into Heart Health," sign up at NorthwestHealth.com.

About Northwest Health

Northwest Health is the largest health system in Northwest Arkansas with five hospitals: Northwest Medical Center -- Bentonville, Northwest Medical Center -- Springdale, Northwest Medical Center -- Willow Creek Women's Hospital, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital and Northwest Health Physicians' Specialty Hospital. The system has 507 beds, a combined medical staff of more than 1,500 physicians and more than 2,200 employees working together to provide quality healthcare for the region. The system also includes two 24/7 standalone emergency departments, Northwest Health Emergency Department Fayetteville and Northwest Health Emergency Department Bentonville. For more information, visit NorthwestHealth.com.