Time to take it to heart
by Melissa Snyder
Jan 30, 2011 | 2026 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print

In a few days we will be seeing a lot of the color red which is great for me because it’s one of my favorite colors, but more importantly it marks the start of the American Heart Association’s annual “Go Red” campaign.

February is Heart Month — a good time, to of course, do something special for our Valentines but most of all it’s time to get a heart check-up.

The “Go Red” campaign is designed to promote heart disease and heart defects awareness and educate those affected and their families.

The American Heart Association, which is leading the way to lower the numbers of those affected by heart disease, says more than 500,000 lives are affected by strokes and cardiovascular disease each year and, surprisingly, twice as many women are affected by heart disease than all forms of cancer. Sadly it is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. That’s a darn good reason we should learn about heart disease and ways we can prevent it.

I believe knowledge truly is power in everything, especially when it comes to something as serious as heart disease which is killing too many people every single year. It’s great to see businesses, organizations, schools and people from all walks of life put on a little red to focus on such an important issue.

The media is another outlet used to bring awareness. In the next few days you will see many commercials recognizing heart health, perhaps read news articles on ways to prevent heart disease and hear discussions about ways to improve and maintain heart health. Hopefully you will take it all in and come up with a “heart care” plan of action to keep the ticker ticking.

Most of us are familiar with the risk smoking has on heart health but many forget that fatty diets, high cholesterol, inactivity, diabetes, high blood pressure and family history are significant factors too. So the next time you think about getting that large extra value meal, remember it could pose a threat — even cause a heart attack!

An article in US News and World Report warned that only 7.5 percent of Americans are clear when it comes to heart disease risk factors because the obesity problem is having a large impact.

Expert Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, said the study citing the 7.5 percent figure is “a wake-up call to the entire country to take more responsibility for their health by knowing their own cardiovascular risk factor profile and, in consultation with their physician, to take proactive steps to reduce their cardiovascular risk.”

Since many symptoms of heart disease don’t present themselves until they are considered life threatening or entirely too late, we should adopt healthy choices now, schedule regular check-ups with our doctor and get the body moving.

An American Heart Association spokesperson said, “The heart is not just a symbol of love to be celebrated on Valentine’s Day; it is your life.”

I encourage you to be bold by wearing red to symbolize your commitment to heart health. Each time you wear it or see it — think of your heart. For more heart healthy tips check out www.americanheart.org.