When we think about the month of February, we tend to think of chocolates, roses, cards, and the many other things that are tied to the Valentine’s Day holiday. But do you think about your heart? I’m not talking about the paper ones decorated with lace or the colorful candy hearts with different sentiments written on them. I’m talking about the heart that is beating in your chest at this very moment.
The month of February has been declared as the “American Heart Month” to raise awareness for all cardiovascular diseases including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Heart diseases are the number one killer of men and women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association, but it is mostly preventable.
Also, the first Friday in February is National Wear Red Day. On this day, we are all encouraged to wear red clothing or accessories to promote heart health awareness and use this day to commit to healthy habits for heart disease prevention.Other than wearing red, here are some other ways that you can raise awareness and also lower your own risk for being a victim of heart disease:
- Read heart health materials and share with your family, friends, coworkers and customers
- Keep your pantry and/or refrigerator stocked with heart healthy snacks
- Have a “heart healthy” potluck lunch at work or exchange heart healthy recipes
- Choose one daily action that could help you prevent heart disease such as exercise for 30 minutes, eat your recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, manage stress, etc.
- Donate to help raise funds for awareness and research
Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, choose to focus on hearts – your heart and your loved ones’ hearts. Minor changes in your family’s lifestyle can lead to big results. For more information, visit the American Heart Association’s website to learn about your heart score and check the “Life’s Simple 7” list for other ways to reduce your heart failure risk.