Tomorrow officially kicks off American Heart Month and while we may be used to seeing promotions and sales for “Heart Awareness,” you may wonder how any of this relates to you. How can these campaigns and healthcare keep up with an ever-changing world? You aren’t alone. Heart health changes and the concerns have changed over time, but what hasn’t changed? We all have hearts, and our hearts are what power our bodies. Therefore, this month matters to us all.
Heart health isn’t one size fits all, while we all have a heart, not everyone looks, works, or is even the same size. Your heart may beat to a totally different drum than say a sibling or even your partner. If you have heard it said that your heart is a muscle, that’s true, but it is also an organ, that sits in the middle of your chest and in simple terms, is responsible for literally pumping blood (which carries the oxygen and nutrients needed for life) throughout your body, removing waste/toxins, and many other things are powered by your heart. If the heart cannot efficiently pump blood and oxygen, your body cannot function at its best, and in some cases, this can be fatal. Therefore, heart health is so important to talk about and raise awareness about. In many ways, the heart is the power supply of the body, and it’s important to protect your power supply.
Heart disease is the number one killer of Americans (followed by cancer and Covid-19). Therefore, chances are you have been hearing about all the different ways you can protect your power supply and have a healthier heart for a long time now. When asked about preventing heart attacks and strokes, Dr. Schuchat, who is Principal Deputy Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares, “We are battling a fearsome foe and indications are strong that we’re losing ground. This report shows the magnitude of the problem including that these preventable events are now occurring in younger people and that in others, progress is slow or stalling. Let’s begin with the fact that about 80% of premature heart disease and strokes are preventable.” That is great news, which means that we have a fighting chance against the #1 killer of our friends and family and we can take action for our health.
According to the American Heart Association, the CDC, the Mayo Clinic, the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), WebMD, Google, Wikipedia, and just about any
person, place, or thing that has even a basic knowledge of how the heart works and a concern for the value of someone’s life and longevity will agree on these:
1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco. If you do, quit.
2. Get daily physical activity.
3. Eat a nutrient-dense diet.
4. Maintain a healthy weight.
5. Get enough good quality sleep.
6. Manage stress in healthful ways.
7. Prioritize regular health screenings.
The first Friday of February is always designated as a “Go Red” day. This is an opportunity for us all to join and show outwardly the growing need to educate and raise awareness for heart disease by wearing red. We now know that we all must protect our powerhouse! The heart can increase or decrease its power over our health, lifestyle, and lifespan. All you must do is wear red! A red shirt, pants, a pin, shoes, you name it. Start conversations, maybe chat with coworkers, see if your workplace is hosting an event, use it as a reminder to book your yearly preventative health visit, or even consider a donation to the American Heart Association. There is something we can all do this Friday in the movement toward creating healthier hearts for America.
It’s American Heart Month, but American or not, everyone needs a healthy heart to have a healthy life. You play one of the most important roles in yours. Check out the list above and if you can’t say you are doing all 7, start with one and get it done, then keep going! In the meantime, join North Country Hospital and millions of Americans on Friday by wearing red. We go to great lengths to protect our homes with insurance, our computers with anti-virus ware, and even our phones with screen protectors. We should be giving ourselves those same lines of defense, our lives depend on it! It’s American Heart Month: Protect Your Power Supply!
Director Of The Wellness Center