February 14 is celebrated all over the world as Valentine’s day, which is the day to celebrate love in many forms. On this day, you will notice all the heart-shaped candies, gifts, and balloons. What many people may not know is that February is also Heart health awareness month. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-CDC)
I did some research that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. According to CDC data, one person dies from heart disease every 36 seconds. Approximately 659,000 people in the United States die from heart disease each year. It is at least 1 in every 4 deaths.
The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease. In the year 2019, coronary heart disease killed 360,900 people. There have been 18.2 million adults of the age 20 years old and over who have coronary heart disease. In every 40 seconds in the United States, someone has a heart attack. In the United States, 805,000 people every year have a heart attack, and about 1 out 5 adults have a silent heart attack (CDC).
American adults who are at risk of heart disease are adults who have diabetes, overweight or obese, lack physical activity, and consume too much alcohol (CDC).
There are ways to prevent yourself from having heart disease. You need to choose to consume healthy food and drink, get physically active every day, keep a healthy weight, do not smoke, check your cholesterol, check your blood pressure, manage your diabetes, take your medication as directed by your doctor, and visit your doctor regularly (CDC).
The Global Health and Education Projects, Inc. provides one program that is focused on addressing heart health in the community. Called the Healthy Heart, this program is aimed at reducing the disparities in health outcomes caused by heart diseases. GHEP hopes that this program, for example, helps to create awareness of health diseases disparities and also gives people the opportunity to get to understand their risk factors for heart disease by offering community-based brief screening and interventions. You can read more about Healthy Heart on GHEP’s website.
Personally, I had been overweight and had a poor diet most of my childhood and teen years. Ever since I switched to exercising at least 5 days out of the week and maintaining a healthy diet, I felt healthier than I did in my childhood and teen years. It is important to listen to your body and get the help that you need (CDC). This is to wish you a happy healthy heart month while also celebrating the month of love–Valentine’s Day.
Written By Chelsea Whittington is a volunteer with the Global Health and Education Projects, Inc. working under the mentorship of Kanisha Blake, BS, MPH.