February happens to be the shortest month on the calendar. However, the shortest month in existence is still insanely busy. Multiple celebrations and observances are taking place during this vaunted winter month such as Black History Month, Turner Syndrome Awareness Month, and the National Children’s Dental Health Month. Furthermore, February is the official National Bird Feeding Month.
This is just a friendly, harmless reminder that February is also American Heart Month. To be more precise, here is a very brief history regarding American Heart Month. It is a one month long official observance that had been initially put into place by the federal government via title 36 of the United States Code more than a decade ago. Many people are not even aware of the existence of American Heart Month.
Can anyone who is reading this guess correctly what the number one cause of death is in the U.S.? If any readers had guessed that heart disease is the leading cause of death in this country, then their guess would have been absolutely correct. Since this website has a marked orientation toward healthcare careers and things pertaining to the medical field, a quick posting about American Heart Month seems timely and appropriate.
After all, many people in this country seek the services of the healthcare system as the result of heart disease and cardiac issues. In fact, there is a high likelihood that some or all of the current and future readers of this piece are either related to a person who has heart disease or know someone who is afflicted with heart disease. Heck, there is a decent chance that a reader may even have one or more cardiac issues themselves.
The overarching focal point of American Heart Month is to raise awareness in the minds of the American public about the national health crisis of heart problems and blood vessel, cardiovascular and circulatory disorders. In addition, another goal of American Heart Month is to get the general public to be more supportive of programs and initiatives that work toward addressing the rampant problem of heart disease.
Some of the most common cardiovascular health issues in this country include the following: coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension (more commonly known as ‘high blood pressure’), atrial fibrillation, heart valve disease, and angina pectoris (better known as ‘chest pain’). Congenital heart defects and anomalies, which are present at birth, are also rather common in American society.
During American Heart Month, people are strongly encouraged to wear the color red to show their wholehearted support of preventative measures for heart disease. People are also nudged toward making a series of lasting lifestyle changes that have been proven to minimize or reduce the risk of developing heart problems.
Lifestyle changes that lessen the likelihood of cardiac disease development include smoking cessation, regular cardiovascular exercise, weight loss, stress management, and adherence to heart-healthy diets. American citizens are also urged to obtain annual physical examinations from a healthcare provider and ensure their serum cholesterol levels get checked regularly.
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. (n.d.). American Heart Month. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month