Celebrate American Heart Month This February

Celebrate American Heart Month This February

February, the month of love and Valentines, is also American Heart Month. First sanctioned by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, it’s a period set aside to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it — both at home and in the community.

Wear Red DayThe American Heart Month celebration kicks off with National Wear Red Day on February 3, a fundraiser emphasizing heart health for women that’s sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA).  The campaign encourages individuals and groups to create a “FUNraising” webpage to raise funds to support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health.

Participants are encouraged to wear the color red on February 3 to show support for women with heart disease and stroke. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds, according to the AHA.

The AHA and other groups will be encouraging heart-friendly practices throughout the month of February. CardioVisual, for example, will be posting heart-friendly messages and suggestions throughout American Heart Month via our social media channels. We also, of course, encourage everyone to download the CardioVisual app (iOS or Android) to learn more about heart health.

Advocacy group Million Hearts is this year calling on younger Americans to spread prevention messages. “We believe young adults have the power to engage their parents in crucial conversations about heart disease prevention that can result in heart-healthy behavior changes,” says the group.

Heart-healthy Tips for American Heart Month

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, take note of these heart-healthy tips for February and beyond:

Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health. It's important to schedule regular check-ups even if you think you are not sick. Partner with your doctor and health care team to set goals for improving your heart health, and don't be afraid to ask questions and trust their advice.

Add exercise to your daily routine. Start off the month by walking 15 minutes, 3 times each week. By mid-month, increase your time to 30 minutes, 3 times each week.

Increase healthy eating. Cook heart-healthy meals at home at least 3 times each week and make your favorite recipe lower sodium. For example, swap out salt for fresh or dried herbs and spices.

Take steps to quit smoking. If you currently smoke, quitting can cut your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Take medication as prescribed. Talk with your doctor about the importance of high blood pressure and cholesterol medications. If you're having trouble taking your medicines on time or if you're having side effects, ask your doctor for help.