Photo courtesy of American Heart Association
On Wear Red Day, put on some red in support of those fighting heart disease, the number one killer of Americans.
Cupid, hearts, candy, chocolates and love are what often come to mind when we think of February. But this year don’t just think of the love in your heart; think about the health of your heart.
Each February is American Heart Month and has been since 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed February as such. While American Heart Month is a designated month in the U.S., it’s important to realize that cardiovascular disease knows no borders – or timeline. Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of death here in Michigan and worldwide, with more than 17.3 million deaths each year. That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030, according to the World Health Organization’s cardiovascular disease fact sheet.
“Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, remains the leading cause of death here in Michigan and worldwide, with more than 17.3 million deaths each year.”
This year, the American Heart Association wants to remind everyone in mid-Michigan to focus on their hearts and to encourage them to get their families and friends and the community involved. There are several ways you can get involved that are all very easy. First, learn about heart disease and how to spot a heart attack. Though the most common symptom is tightness or pressure in the chest, it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. For both men and women, watch for:
• Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or the back, neck, jaw or stomach
• Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort
• Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately because time is vital in the event of a cardiac emergency.
You should not only know how to spot a heart attack but also know what to do should you witness one. Everyone needs to know CPR. In fact, you can learn hands-only CPR, which is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an out-of-hospital setting (such as at home, at work, at school or in a park). It consists of two easy steps after finding no pulse:
1. Call 911 (or send someone to do that).
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
Remember, when you call 911, you need to stay on the phone until the 911 dispatcher (operator) tells you to hang up. The dispatcher will ask you about the emergency. He or she will also ask for details like your location. It is important to be specific, especially if you’re calling from a mobile phone, as that is not associated with a fixed location or address.
Finally, Go Red with us on Wear Red Day, the first Friday in February. Put on some red and show your support to everyone affected by heart disease. A red dress, a red tie, red shoes – anything red will help bring awareness to the number one killer of Americans. Also, decorate your place of business in red. Turn your outside lights red, decorate your lobby and change your uniform to red on Wear Red Day.
Regardless of how you choose to Go Red, see how others have done so on Facebook or Twitter. Look for @AHAMidMichigan.
The American Heart Association wants to help everyone live longer, healthier lives so that we can enjoy all of life’s precious moments. Take measures to improve your health this February. Why? Because Life is Why. Happy American Heart Month.