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Cardiovascular Health

Celebrate this Valentine's Day not only with love from your heart, but for your heart!

February is recognized as National Heart Month. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States (AHA, 2017). Close to 86 million Americans have some type of CVD including high blood pressure and stroke (AHA, 2017). CVD often goes undetected, but is highly preventable in many cases. An analysis of ANA's health risk appraisal (a survey of over 10,000 RNs and nursing students) shows that 25% reported being diagnosed with hypertension by a health care provider (ANA & ICG, 2016). Nurses know that healthy eating, physical activity, normal BMI, regular healthcare visits, limited alcohol consumption, and a tobacco-free lifestyle are their best defenses against CVD, but achieving those habits can be difficult. ANA's health risk appraisal data shows respondents have an average BMI of 27.6 (overweight), and struggle with eating the recommended amounts of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (ANA & ICG, 2016). Only about half meet the recommended amount of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise (ANA & ICG, 2016). How can we improve these statistics and improve our heart health?

Along with ANA, our partners for this month, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association and the Nevada Nurses Association are sharing great ideas and resources for improving RN heart health, see below. Also follow ANA's social media campaigns, #FitNurseFriday and #healthynurse on Facebook and Twitter.


American Heart Association [AHA]. (2017). American heart month events and info. Retrieved 1/18/17 


Code of Ethics for Nurses Monthly Tip
The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements guides nurses in everyday practice in all settings, but also provides guidance for the individual care of the nurse. Interpretive Statement 5.2 of the Code states that "Nurses should model the same health maintenance and health promotion measures that they teach and research, obtain health care when needed, and avoid taking unnecessary risks to health or safety in the course of their professional and personal activities." Nurses should commit to eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get sufficient rest. These activities combined with a satisfying work environment further the nurse's maintenance of individual health and well-being.

As we strive for a Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation™, nurses have a duty to take the same care for their own health and safety.

Additional Resources

Collaborative Partners

Heart Healthy Toolbox - Lifestyle Change Tools for Health Care Professionals and Their Patients
The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) is the leading nursing organization dedicated to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

PCNA encourages their nurses to walk the talk and practice what they preach.  Their Heart Healthy Toolbox is a compilation of resources to support heart healthy lifestyle education for adult patients, but they know that nurses will find value in it for themselves. Healthy nutrition, physical activity, avoidance of tobacco, and stress management all play a critical role in cardiovascular health.  PCNA recognizes the challenge of communicating evidence-based information, coaching patients with behavior change, and, equally as important, maintaining one’s own healthy lifestyle. Their hope is that these tools will amplify your efforts and your cardiovascular health. The resources are available to download for free.

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