February is American Heart Health Month. This month launches various events and programs that are aimed at helping people identify and understand risk factors for developing cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Statistics recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 1 in 4 deaths in the U.S. are a result of heart disease. High LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure and physical inactivity are all among the many known risk factors.
The official Guidelines for Physical Activity issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recommend that adults engage in regular exercise and make an effort to, “…move more and sit less throughout the day.”
A comprehensive outline of these guidelines can be found at www.health.gov.
By bringing awareness to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease we become empowered to lower our risk of developing it.
An upstream approach to addressing poor heart health involves taking preventative action.
Regular check-ups with a doctor and blood screenings are essential for monitoring health. Proper diet, weight maintenance, and physical activity also play key roles in proper heart function.
The American Heart Association (AHA), has made it their mission to: “Build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular disease...” by educating the public, disseminating scientific research, and implementing community health programs.
The AHA website offers a wealth of resources, with a detailed “Healthy Living” tab that lists information on topics ranging from meal planning and weight loss, to mental health and stress management.
The AHA has also founded many notable campaigns, including the “Go Red For Women’s Heart Health” event which has become an iconic movement.
The American Heart Association hosts many events in Connecticut. The AHA Communications Director of the Connecticut branch of the AHA, Mary Ann Burn, describes an upcoming Go Red event:
“Our New Haven Go Red For Women Event will bring women from throughout the community to the New Haven Lawn Club on February 13th to learn about their risks for heart disease.
The evening features a networking hour with refreshments, followed by a two-hour program with local medical professional speakers, survivors sharing their story and this year, will feature a Q & A panel discussion with the medical experts.”
In addition to the AHA’s expansive efforts in the fields of medicine, public health, and health policy, the AHA also offers invaluable aid to those afflicted and at risk for cardiovascular disease.
Burns says, “The American Association offers many free programs to help communities and residents live a healthier life!”
Among these programs are, Check. Change. Control., which enables participants to track their blood pressure at home, and My Life Check, a seven-step health education program.
All of the AHA’s free programs target pivotal aspects of cardiovascular disease prevention and aim to serve the community.
Details on how to take part in an AHA event, donate, and become a volunteer or sponsor are available at: www.heart.org.
Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford resident, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris – https://dearfitkris.com/