BATON ROUGE, La. – The COVID-19 pandemic has been the main health threat on everyone’s minds over the past year. But, it’s important not to lose sight of the leading cause of death for men and women – heart disease.
February is American Heart Month. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana joins other health leaders in encouraging everyone to take steps that will keep your heart beating strong for years to come.
“It’s very important to talk to your healthcare provider about your heart health because your diet, lifestyle and family history can affect your risks,” said Dr. Emily Vincent, Blue Cross medical director. “While you can’t change your genetics, you can greatly improve your heart health by eating well, getting regular exercise and quitting or avoiding tobacco. Your provider can help you make a lifestyle plan for a healthy heart.”
Dr. Vincent shares tips to lower your risk for heart disease in this video (1:28).
It’s especially important to schedule a wellness visit with your healthcare provider if you put this off last year because of COVID-19, Vincent added. “People who have heart disease are at a higher risk of getting a severe case of COVID-19 or dying from it,” she said. “We know that many people skipped routine health visits last year, but those are really important to stay on top of your overall health. You do not want to come through the pandemic and have a heart attack or a stroke that could be prevented by talking with your provider and making changes now.”
Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in America for years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). There is also medical evidence that COVID-19 can cause heart damage by making the heart muscle inflamed. While it will take time to determine the long-term effects of COVID-19 for heart disease, it’s important to lower your risk of getting or spreading the coronavirus. Wear face masks in public, keep six feet away from people who do not live with you and wash your hands often.
Blue Cross members who have been diagnosed with heart disease can get health coaching, information and support from the insurer’s clinical team. Health coaches include nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists, who work with members to help them stick to their care plans, adopt healthy habits and make positive changes to improve their health. It does not cost anything to work with a health coach. Visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger for more information about Care Management services and programs.
Blue Cross will join other employers and healthcare organizations in National Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 5. The American Heart Association encourages everyone to wear red clothing to raise awareness of heart disease risks, particularly for women. Blue Cross employees will share photos of their red attire to show their support of heart health.
You can visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos with the clinical team and others discussing health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can also connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 and 2020 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association . We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media .