For a short month, February is long on signature images. Cupids and hearts, George Washington and Honest Abe, icons of Black History Month…. However, the hearts of February are not only for Valentine’s Day. Celebrating February as National Heart Month in the U.S. reaches back to a proclamation by then-president Lyndon B. Johnson. In December 1963, LBJ named February 1964 as the first American Heart Month. As a child I remember helping my mother with February fundraising for our local heart health association chapter in Salisbury, NC. For me, all the red and white balloons were the main attraction. For my mother, it was more personal. She had had successful surgery to correct a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). In the early 1950s, this was a more invasive bit of business than it is today.
#GoRedWearRedNational Wear Red Day® is Friday, February 3, 2017. The American Heart Association (AHA) helps maximize the shortest month of the year by filling it with information related to heart health, heart disease prevention and treatment. 2017 marks the 15th observation of National Wear Red Day. This day functions as a combination awareness event, fundraiser, and opportunity to show support for women with heart disease and stroke. Learn more at goredforwomen.org. While heart disease is strongly associated with men, the facts of heart disease in women are chilling. 1 in 3 deaths among women are attributed to heart disease and stroke, or approximately one death every 80 seconds. A new health initiative associated with National Wear Red Day is #GoRedGetFit, a Facebook group that features a variety of health and fitness challenges for women, powered by professional trainers.
Living With Heart DiseaseMore and more people are learning to live with heart disease. Also, advancements in treatment of stroke have increased those survival rates. The American Heart Association’s Living With Heart Disease online resource covers topics ranging from using Tai Chi as part of a stroke rehabilitation plan, to talking to your children about heart disease. Articles address everything from caring for a person with heart disease, to sex after diagnosis. Three keys to living well with a heart disease diagnosis are:
- Following your doctor’s advice
- Making positive lifestyle and dietary changes
- Getting the physical and emotional support you need
- Total cholesterol
- HDL (good) cholesterol
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Body mass index (BMI)