February is Heart Month. It’s the perfect time to commit to doing something good for your heart this year. A recent Heart and Stroke Foundation survey reveals that we are not making time for healthy choices, which is contributing to the grim reality that cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women, and the cause of one in three deaths here in Canada.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation is urging us to make time now, so we can have time later.
We need to make time for a range of simple daily lifestyle changes to help prevent heart disease ranging from preparing a heart-healthy meal to going for a brisk walk or quitting smoking. The non-profit organization’s longterm goal is reduce deaths due to heart disease and stroke by 25% by 2020.
Did you know that Heart Month was inspired by a Canadian fundraising initiative called “Heart Sunday”? The concept was adopted in Western Canada here in British Columbia in the mid-1950s; in Ontario by 1958, and Heart Month has since expanded across our country. And in 1963, February was also proclaimed as American Heart Month in the U.S.
Go Red for Heart Day® is now held every February in the U.S. (Friday, February 5, 2016). It’s a day to put on that red outfit or those red shoes or your snazzy little Red Dress pin– the symbol of women’s heart health – to remind others around you that heart disease is the #1 killer of women. In the U.K., February 5th is National Wear Red Day; in Australia, June 11 is Go Red for Women Day.
Why do these campaigns to raise awareness of women’s heart disease exist? Heart disease kills more women than men each year, kills six times more women than breast cancer does each year, and in fact, heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined every year. We need to start somewhere to change this.
But there’s more you can do personally to help spread the word. Download a free Community Action Kit from the Heart and Stroke Foundation. With this kit, you can gather a group of friends, family or co-workers, pour some heart-smart red wine and host your own Heart Month event. This kit includes a speaker’s guide, a Power Point presentation with slide-by-slide speaking notes, and even handouts for your guests.
But why do this only during Heart Month? Why not take a page this month from the pinkification that breast cancer awareness campaigns enjoy throughout the entire year?
Why can’t we make that little red dress as iconic as the pink ribbon?
Heart disease is often perceived as an older woman’s disease, but did you know it’s the second leading cause of death among women aged 45–64 years, and the third leading cause of death among younger women aged 25–44 years?
Let’s start educating other women we care about today and every day in 2012 that a heart-smart diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising (“Only on the days we plan to eat!” as cardiologist Dr. John Mandrola likes to say), chronic stress management and not smoking will not only help our hearts, but enhance our very wellbeing every single day for the rest of our lives.
And if you haven’t already, subscribe here to receive free heart health updates via email or Twitter from Heart Sisters (just click the follow buttons on the upper right sidebar here) and tell the women in your life about this site, too.
What can you start doing RIGHT NOW to help your heart?
♥ This post was featured in Dr. John Mandrola’s GRAND ROUNDS