February has been "Celebrate the Heart" month for millions of Americans since 1963 when it was first given this designation by Former President John F. Kennedy. Each year, growing numbers of Americans participate in The American Heart Assocation's numerous activities to bring attention to the nation's leading cause of death for both men and women. On February 3, 2012 American women will promote "Go Red Day" by wearing the month's traditionally festive color to take a stand in the fight against heart disease which claims more women's lives than all the combined forms of cancer. While February has traditionally been known as the season when friends and lovers celebrate Valentine's Day with red hearts, flowers, and chocolates, the red heart has also become the American Heart Association's symbol of the fight to improve heart health.
Cardiac and vascular related diseases claim more American lives per year than any other illness. A joint act by congress and former President George Bush, and sponsored by the American Heart Association, has put a national focus on a health issue that is of primary significance. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one American dies every minute due to cardiac failure. Many of the risk factors that increase the potential for heart disease can be mitigated by making just a few basic lifestyle changes. American Heart Month is set aside to educate the American public about how to reduce the potential for developing heart disease.
American Heart Month receives a large amount of publicity and is the time of year when donations are elicited for ongoing research and product development to improve cardiac fitness and heart diagnostics. Clinics around the country host screenings to identify individuals at risk for heart disease due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and plaque build-up in the arteries. Nutritional literature is distributed to provide education on how to have a more heart-healthy diet.
Educators stress the importance of eating heart-healthy foods, getting exercise for cardiac fitness and learning ways to manage stress. American Heart Month also works to raise the level of awareness of how smoking increases the risk of a cardiac event. Each year, The American Heart Association, the largest volunteer health organization in the country, launches a new campaign that invites the public to participate in American Heart Month. It educates about heart disease and strokes, offers CPR certification, and invites new members to join the AHA in helping to fight against heart disease.
The American Heart Association invites the public to participate in " National Wear Red Day”on the February 4th, by getting together with friends and neighbors to hold a event, and of course, to wear red. According to Nancy Brown, the association’s CEO, the cost of treating heart-related diseases will more than triple by 2030. Individuals who wish to make a donation for heart research are encouraged to contact the American Heart Association for instructions on how to do so. This February, consider giving yourself a valentine. Show that you love yourself by taking steps to protect your heart.