South Carolina Encourages Heart-Healthy Lifestyles

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February is American Heart Month and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control urges South Carolinians to adopt healthy lifestyle habits that can help reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke.

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"Every year, the American Heart Association designates February as American Heart Month to raise awareness about cardiovascular health," said Dory Masters, director of DHEC's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Division. "We urge people to make healthful choices, such as becoming more physically active, quitting smoking, and regularly having their blood pressure and cholesterol screened. If those numbers are high, you can work with your doctor to get it under control.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the South for men and women among all racial and ethnic groups," Masters said. "Heart disease and stroke accounted for 75,176 hospitalizations in South Carolina during 2006, with a total hospitalization cost of more than $2.8 billion. Data compiled by DHEC show that 12,067 South Carolinians died from cardiovascular disease in 2006, which is more than the number of people who died from cancer, pneumonia, influenza and car accidents combined."

DHEC's Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention works with community partners and health care systems to improve the cardiovascular health and quality of life of South Carolinians through the prevention, detection and treatment of risk factors; early identification and treatment of cardiovascular diseases; and prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events.

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