Friday, February 2nd is National Wear Red Day

February is just around the corner and is often a month when we think of hearts. Valentine’s hearts, heart candy, and heart shaped balloons are just a few of the hearts we see during February. But our beating hearts inside of us need the focus this month even more. Did you know that the average adult heart beats 80 times per minute? This means that it beats 115,200 times per day and 42 million times a year! Your heart is an amazing part of you that needs to be cared for, but sadly, many people suffer from heart disease.  Heart disease is an illness that involves the heart, the blood vessels, or both. As stated by the American Heart Association, about 2200 Americans die every day from heart disease and stroke. The good news is that knowing about the disease and lifestyle changes this number can be lowered. The first step in lowering the number of heart related deaths is awareness.

Since the year 2002, “The Heart Truth” campaign from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) has been telling us about the dangers of heart disease. The campaign was aimed first at women to realize their heart related concerns, so they created the Red Dress as the national symbol. Over the years, this campaign has grown. Many Americans, male and female alike, choose to wear red on that day to mark the event. The red dress symbol is a red alert to take heart disease seriously. Please tell everyone you know to join in on the Wear Red Day challenge on Friday, February 2nd, (the first Friday in February every year). Everyone can take part by showing off their favorite red dress, red tie, red shirt, or by wearing the Red Dress Pin. It is a chance to unite and show that you care about all of the women in your life. It also reminds us and motivates women to take action to reduce their own risk. This campaign urges that any changes must start with you. You must take the first step to knowing your own heart health risk.

Women, and those that love them, need to know about the risk factors, the warning signs, and simple lifestyle changes that could improve and even save their lives. The risk of heart attack and stroke can be lowered by making a few daily changes. These include: quitting smoking, taking control of high blood pressure, reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, lowering alcohol intake, taking off extra weight or keeping a healthy weight, being active 30 minutes a day at least three times per week, and finding ways to manage stress.

The American Heart Association urges everyone to “Know Your Numbers.” Five numbers that all women should know are: Blood Pressure, Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Sugar and Body Mass Index (BMI). Knowing these numbers can help women and their healthcare provider know their risk for having heart diseases. It’s time for all women to learn the most important numbers in their life — their hearts depend on it.

So on Friday February 2, please wear red to support and encourage those who are affected by heart disease, and to raise awareness of this disease that we can prevent.

For more information about heart disease or the Heart Truth campaign, go to: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/hearttruth/index.htm. Or for more information on Knowing Your Numbers, visit the American Heart Association website at www.heart.org or call Four Corners Health Department at (402) 362-2621 or toll free 877-337-3573. Or send email to info@fourcorners.ne.gov. Visit our website at www.fourcorners.ne.gov.