In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first proclamation declaring February American Heart Month. Each year, this is a time to spotlight heart disease, by bringing awareness and sharing how to take steps to prevent this deadly disease.
While much of the world remains under varying degrees of quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been forced into new routines. Some of these new routines no longer include regular exercise or healthy eating habits, which are top contributors to heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. They also offer a few tips on action items you take to prevent heart disease:
- Know your risk. Knowing your risk can help you make lifestyle changes.
- Eat a healthy diet. Start making healthy choices that include daily vegetables and less processed foods.
- Be physically active. Move more – it’s one of the best ways to stay healthy, prevent disease, and age well.
- Watch your weight. Stay at a healthy weight for you.
- Check your blood pressure and cholesterol. These are two main risk factors that could lead to heart disease.
Raising awareness is important not only in the month of February but year-round too. It’s the awareness that can ultimately save a life and on the first Friday of February, the nation celebrates National Wear Red Day to bring greater attention to heart disease as a leading cause of death for Americans.
It’s also the perfect time to take training from the American Red Cross on how to perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to help save lives. Cardiac arrest claims thousands of lives every year. Red Cross CPR/AED classes can help you save a life when every moment counts. Visit www.redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.
You can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App for instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including cardiac arrest. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The app can be downloaded for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
Written by Maria Arango