By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

In recognition of the start of American Heart Month, the American Medical Association (AMA) has released six recommendations for monitoring heart health.

At the top of the list are two guidelines concerning blood pressure control. First, the AMA encourages Americans to know their blood pressure readings. Second, the organization asks those with high readings to commit to a serious plan to reduce their blood pressure to safe levels.

“High blood pressure is the nation’s leading risk factor for heart attack and stroke, yet an overwhelming number of U.S. adults are living with uncontrolled high blood pressure — placing them at increased risk for both conditions,” AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, said in a statement. “By empowering more patients to monitor and control their blood pressure, we will continue to improve health outcomes for patients and reduce healthcare costs.”

Other AMA recommendations are connected to controlling blood pressure, specifically exercising more, eating a healthy diet (with a focus on cutting out excess sugar and sodium), and consuming alcohol in moderation. The group underscores the fact that if a person is 20 or more pounds overweight, the risk for developing high blood pressure and subsequent health problems increases. But at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, coupled with consuming a plant-rich diet, could help erase those excess pounds.

In the United States, someone suffers a heart attack every 43 seconds, and someone dies from heart disease every 90 seconds. Written with Mission: Lifeline hospitals in mind, Relias Media produces an annual ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) resource. STEMI Watch 2019: Commitment to Quality Care and Improved Outcomes includes concise and practical updates on STEMI. In this fourth edition of this series, readers gain valuable STEMI continuing education credits while reviewing clinically relevant recommendations to improve consistency of cardiac care.

In addition, every month Relias Media produces Clinical Cardiology Alert, which provides clinicians with unbiased expert physician commentary on the most current topics in cardiovascular research. Top experts examine studies from leading peer-reviewed journals and highlight the most relevant information for cardiologists.