Since 2006, WakeMed and Cameron Village have partnered in February to bring awareness about the prevalence of heart disease and highlighting what the risks are in acquiring the disease. We interviewed Caroline Youngblood of WakeMed to learn more about heart health and why awareness is so important.
Why is it important to have an American Heart Month and why is important to spread awareness about heart health?
American Heart Month has been recognized each February since 1964 when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared the first one. Today, just as it was in 1964, heart disease is the leading cause of death in both adult men and women in the United States. However, our society has the power to make changes to improve this statistic. Through education about what causes heart disease and taking steps to reduce the risk factors that cause heart disease, we are making progress to fight heart disease.
Tell us about Go Red for Women and why it’s so significant.
To support Go Red for Women, the first Friday in February (Feb 5) is designated as National Wear Red Day® day to help raise awareness that women die of heart disease—in fact, 1 in 3 women die of the disease each year. Go Red for Women came about in 2003 as a joint effort by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help raise awareness that it is the number one killer of women in the United States. At the time, many women surveyed believed that cancer or breast cancer was the leading cause of death among women. Today, statistics are improving about women’s awareness of the disease, but there is still opportunity to educate women, and men, about their risk for heart disease.
What are some actions women can take to improve their heart health?
Some simple steps you can take to improve your risk factors are:
- Get active – exercise on a regular basis. In fact, make an appointment each day to get in at least 30 minutes of activity like walking.
- Eat a Healthy Diet – eat a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, high fiber carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats like olive oils and nuts.
- Stop Smoking – the health benefits are numerous and well worth quitting smoking or other tobacco products.
- Know Your Family History of Heart Disease – if you have parents or siblings who had a heart attack before age 55 (men) or 65 (women), you are at an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
What resources are there for women who want to learn more information about being heart healthy?
Talk with your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease. Need a primary care doctor to help you manage your health? Visit www.wakemed.org and click on “Find A Doctor.” And, WakeMed’s Heart & Vascular pages on our website have many resources available. Just go to www.wakemed.org/hearthealthresources to learn more.
Why was it important to partner with Cameron Village for the Love Your Heart program?
It’s a unique way of reaching the public with an important health message in a setting such as Cameron Village. WakeMed appreciates that each year Cameron Village wants to help raise awareness that heart disease is the number one killer. And it is well-meaning on the part of Cameron Village to help their customers learn ways to take better care of themselves. That’s why the name, Love Your Heart As Much As We Do, really does fit.
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So, be sure to wear your red tomorrow and help spread the message of heart health awareness. We hope you love your heart as much as we do.
And remember the Love Your Heart promotion is running through Valentine’s Day. Spend $250 or more at Cameron Village and bring your receipts to Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, Moon & Lola or Tin Roof Teas in the same day to receive a free gift. Plus, you’ll receive a certificate for a free total & HDL cholesterol test and blood pressure check – available by appointment at a WakeMed location near you!