What you can do during American Heart Month

What you can do during American Heart Month

Lauren Diffendarfer

by Lauren Diffendarfer

Medical Educator

posted on Feb 3, 2015, at 9:48 pm

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YOU MAY NOT KNOW THAT FEBRUARY is American Heart Month and heart disease is America’s leading cause of death for both men and women. American Heart Month is an American Heart Association sponsored event, dedicated to the most vital – and often neglected – organ in our bodies. The goal of American Heart Month is to make a difference, but it’s up to individuals within each and every community to come together and make a change.

heart drawn on chalkboard

Regardless of your state of health, age, gender or location, you can help the AHA’s mission of improving heart health during the month of February. So, what are some things you can do during American Heart Month?

National Wear Red Day
The AHA event, Go Red for Women, is a campaign that was created in an effort to change the belief that heart disease is a “man’s disease”. In reality, heart disease and stroke kill about 1 in 3 women. February 6th is National Wear Red Day, which encourages people to wear red and spread awareness of heart disease in women. In addition to wearing red, you can also donate or create a fundraising page to help Go Red For Women in their mission to continue to decrease the number of heart disease-related deaths among women, create female-based AHA guidelines, and encourage women to make behavior and lifestyle changes that are heart-healthy.

Understand the warning signs

Why is heart disease the no. 1 killer in America? Heart disease symptoms are often ignored or unrecognized. That is, until someone experiences a heart attack, when it is too late for prevention. It takes courage and bravery to recognize symptoms and act upon them. Here are some heart disease symptoms you should never ignore, according to WebMD.

  • Anxiety
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Pain anywhere on the body
  • Rapid/irregular pulse
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Swelling
  • Weakness

Donate
If you feel inspired to donate money, there are a several online donation services to help fight heart disease. Some of these include the AHA, The Heart Foundation and The Children’s Heart Foundation.

Become CPR Certified
Anyone can and should become more knowledgeable about CPR, which has the power to save lives after cardiac arrest. If you have the resources to obtain a CPR Certification, you can get certified during the month of February and prepare yourself to be a lifesaver. If you feel as though you cannot find the time to attend a weekend class, consider online CPR certification, which can be completed in your free time.

Spread the word and encourage others
Social media has a powerful information tool. If you feel compelled to spread awareness about American Heart Month, consider utilizing social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to spread the word. The AHA has even created the hashtag #GoRed to inspire people to share their stories about Go Red For Women.

You can also encourage family members, teachers and other community members to incorporate heart healthy choices into their lives by speaking out about heart disease prevention.

There are several ways to participate in American Heart Month this February and prevent heart disease year round.

We want to know: What are some ways you plan on participating this month?

About Lauren

Lauren works as the Medical Educator for the Disque Foundation and has worked closely with us since 2014. She is a full-time student pursuing a BS in Biology at Indiana University as a recipient of the Chick Evans Caddy Scholarship and hopes to attend medical school to become a physician in the future. She is certified in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and she is also a certified Basic Life Support Instructor for the American Heart Association. She stays heavily involved with health care in and out of her local community, helping plan and coordinate Disque Foundation events, teaching lifesaving skills to the communities and organizations that we serve and volunteering at her hometown hospital in the Birthing Unit.
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