Sometimes I think we can become immune to awareness campaigns when we see them year in and year out. Especially if we look at the issue and think “that’s not me, that’s not my family”. But everyone with a personal connection to an awareness cause was at one time an outsider, until suddenly, often completely unexpectedly, devastatingly, they found themselves all too familiar with the awareness issue at hand.
But when it comes to something like American Heart Month, supporting it as an outsider is definitely where you want to be. Cardiovascular disease is estimated to take the lives of 610,000 Americans every year, 1 out of every 4 deaths in the US annually. That’s a staggering statistic, but we can get these statistics down, and keep them from affecting our families by doing a few simple things in February, and year round.
- Wear red on February 2nd to help remind everyone around you to be healthy and visit the doctor. And that doesn’t mean you need to be a walking tomato: you can simply don red heart lapel pins too to get the conversation started.
- Start the new exercise routine you’ve been putting off. Whether that’s walking the neighborhood a few times a week or hitting the gym before work every day, ramp up your physical activity!
- Go to the doctor regularly! This is perhaps the easiest thing you can do, but it’s also the easiest to put off. Going to the doctor to get regular screening can detect early signs of heart disease and save your life. Listen to your mother (and me): Go to the doctor!
- Bite the bullet and quit smoking. Smoking doesn’t just hurt your lungs: it affects every organ in your body, including your heart!
- Don’t ignore symptoms because you’re under 65: heart disease is affecting younger and younger Americans, so listen to your body!
However you get involved with American Heart Month this February-and I really hope everyone does-don’t stop come February 28th. Keep exercising, wear your red heart lapel pins, and stay healthy so the statistics go down for heart disease, and more of us around to celebrate more birthdays in 2018!
Also, visit the Million Hearts website to learn more and do more this month and all year round.