The leading cause of death in the US — among both women and men– is also one of the most preventable. Heart Disease kills 844,000 people in the US and according to local statistics 830 people died last year in Seattle alone. Nationwide, roughly ¼ of American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after effects of a stroke.
We all know that a heart attack or a stroke can be fatal. My father barely survived a heart attack in his early-50’s. My mother wasn’t so lucky and died of a stroke in her early sixties. I’m paying attention.
Many survivors and their families know that quality of life can decrease remarkably after a heart attack or stroke. The good news is that we have a second chance now: 80% of cardiovascular diseases is preventable and we each can do something about it.
On Monday, I was honored to present the American Health Association with two proclamations to support their efforts to markedly improve the cardiovascular health of Americans. The first proclamation named February Heart Health Month, promoting health by encouraging people to do what our grandmothers advised: eat healthy foods, exercise more, pay attention to our blood pressure and cholesterol, don’t smoke and manage our stress.
The second proclamation named this coming Friday February 2nd as National Wear Red Day to support women and their fight against heart disease. By paying attention to our own health and speaking out about reducing our risk of heart disease, we can save lives…our own and our friends’.
I will be the first to acknowledge that sometimes changing habits is easy to start in January but is easy to watch evaporate by spring.
I’m trying again. What am I doing for Heart Healthy month? I joined Weight Watchers in January, I mostly participated in “Dry January” meaning foregoing my evening glass wine for a month and I rejoined the gym. I am seeing progress.
Heart Health month is about our parents, our friends, our partners. It’s also about each of us. Eating right and drinking less are two actions over which most of us have control. I mean it when I say I want you to stay healthy. You are an important part of our community.
Please take some time to learn more on the American Heart Association’s website here, and join me in wearing red this Friday, February 2 to remind each other we can actually DO something positive for ourselves and reduce this disease.