What American Heart Month Has To Do With Breast Cancer

February is American Heart Month. But why is a breast cancer non-profit even talking about American Heart Month? Don’t we have our own month—Breast Cancer Awareness Month—in October?

The simple truth is that many of the humanity’s biggest killers, like heart disease and cancer, share the same risk factors. Good news? That means they also share the same steps to get healthy and get yourself out of the dreaded “high risk” zone. As one study pointed out, an improvement in your breast health also means an improvement in your heart health, making accomplishing any one of these healthy lifestyle changes a double-win.

Five Ways To Reduce Your Risk of Cancer & Heart Disease

  1. Exercise – The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Surprisingly (or not so much), the American Cancer Society recommends the same exact amount.
  2. Quit smoking – Both the American Heart Association and the American Cancer society agree that smoking is a for heart disease and cancer, respectively. According to ACS, between 2000 and 2004, smoking was responsible for 1 in 5 deaths. (Source)
  3. Alcohol – AHA recommends limiting intake of alcohol to 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men per day. ACS echoes the same limits.
  4. Maintain a healthy weightObesity is a major risk factor for both heart disease and cancer. More than one-third of adults in the U.S. are considered obese. See what ACS and AHA have to say about it.
  5. Saturated & trans fats – Fat does not increase breast cancer risk directly, but an above average consumption of it often leads to obesity, which does increase breast cancer risk (see ACS statement). AHA recommends eating less than 7% of your total daily calorie intake in saturated fat.

Have you made any of these lifestyle changes? Are there any other positive effects you’ve enjoyed?

[Photo by the Bush Library]