When you think of February, usually Valentine’s Day is the first thing to come to mind. Boxes of chocolates, heart-shaped candy, and pops of pink take over stores, malls, and workplaces. The month is filled with hearts, but you may not realize that February is Heart Health Month. If you aren’t familiar with this national campaign, here’s everything you need to know:
How It All Began
The first American Heart Health Month was announced in February 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who suffered a heart attack himself. Its purpose was to reinforce the importance of heart health and the need for more research. It’s a much-needed reminder to get families, friends, and communities involved. Since then, the President has nationally declared February as American Heart Health Month, with organizations like the American Heart Association leading the way in promotion and prevention.
No. 1 Killer
Cardiovascular disease, which includes both heart attacks and strokes, kills about 2,300 people a day.¹ It kills more people than all forms of cancer put together! This staggering statistic proves we need to be paying attention to this disease, supporting scientific research and learning how to prevent it. American Heart Month is crucial for awareness, but you really should be taking care of your heart year-round.
The Good News
While medicine and science are progressing, unhealthy lifestyle choices do hinder progress with preventing and treating this disease. The good news is that you may be able to prevent heart disease with healthy lifestyle choices, including not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week, and getting regular checkups with your doctor.²
How You Can Help
Did you know that heart disease kills one in three women? Go Red for Women® is the American Heart Association's global initiative to end heart disease and stroke in women. Launched in 2004, this is a worldwide movement dedicated to removing the barriers women face to achieving good health and wellbeing.²
Learn what the American Heart Association’s GO RED™ acronym means to help all women be informed about their heart health:
G: GET YOUR NUMBERS - Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
O: OWN YOUR LIFESTYLE - Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and eat healthily. It’s up to you.
R: REALIZE YOUR RISK - We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills one of three women.
E: EDUCATE YOUR FAMILY - Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active and making healthy lifestyle choices.
D: DON’T BE SILENT - Tell every woman you know that heart disease is our No. 1 killer.
During Heart Health Month, we all have a common goal — to help eliminate heart disease and stroke. This February, do your part by learning more about this disease and the lifestyle choices you can make to keep your heart healthy.
Did you know that cardiovascular disease was the number one killer in women? What will you do this month to take care of your heart?
¹ American Heart Association, Inc. (2020). Retrieved on Feb. 14, 2020. https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/february-marks-56th-consecutive-american-heart-month\
²American Heart Association, Inc. (2019). Retrieved on Feb. 02, 2020. https://newsroom.heart.org/events/february-2020-american-heart-month-and-go-red-for-women