February is often seen as a month of love and romance, but it's also a great time to take care of your heart. It's American Heart Month, an annual celebration that started in 1963 to inspire Americans to join the fight against heart disease.
Fact: Heart disease accounts for 1 out of every 4 deaths in the United States—it's the leading cause of death for both men and women. Celebrating American Heart Month means bringing awareness your community so everyone can live better, healthier lives.
Here are some simple ways you can celebrate!
1. Talk about it. Make a difference in your community. American Health Month is supposed to encourage outreach and conversation with the people you care about. This means talking about heart health with family members, friends, and co-workers. Be sure to check up on people, don’t be afraid to spark a discussion. We all have an interest in each other's well-being.
2. Use #AmericanHeartMonth on social media. By virtue of modern technology, you can now spread the good news of heart health on social media! Share your story and respond to other people who may need advice. Be sure to use this hashtag so everyone can get in on the conversation. Also be sure to follow some health organizations who work every day to help others, including @American_Heart, @CDCgov, and @CPRSavers.
3. Host an event to promote good heart health. American Heart Month is the perfect time to get a group of people together to celebrate healthy living. Serve healthy foods and drinks and talk about what goals you have for your heart health. You can teach a class on how to make healthy foods, and why it's so important to prevent heart disease. You could even have fun with some CPR trivia.
4. Learn CPR and encourage others to do so too. Do you know how you would handle a life-threatening situation? Chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and sudden lightheadedness are all common signs of an oncoming heart attack or stroke. Learn more about CPR with this step-by-step guide, or schedule a class today.
5. Don't forget to help yourself. There is no substitute for exercise—physical inactivity doubles your risk of heart disease. Getting just 10 minutes of exercise three times a week will help you live longer. And small changes to your diet can make a huge difference. Some simple tips include: Replacing salt with other spices, taking your lunch to work instead of eating out, and trying one new online healthy recipe each week. Get a check-up. Some healthcare professionals will even hold annual awareness events, where they administer heart screenings with no charge to the patient.