Celebrate American Hearth Month this February

February is American Heart Month

February 1, 2018On December 30, 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared February American Heart Month, recognizing that heart disease was the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. At that time, more than half the deaths in the U.S. were caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD).1

Fifty-five years later, February is still recognized as American Heart Month in the U.S., and unfortunately, CVD remains a leading cause of death in both men and women – accounting for one in four deaths. Although CVD is both treatable and preventable, sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is not. SCA accounts for approximately 350,000 deaths each year.2 There are no warning signs associated with SCA, and everyone is at risk. In a sudden cardiac arrest, the heart will unexpectedly and abruptly stop beating properly when its electrical system malfunctions. This is usually caused by an abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF). The only effective treatment for VF is an electrical shock administered by an automated external defibrillator (AED) followed by high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

This February focus on your heart health. Healthy choices include eating well, staying fit, getting enough rest, and working with your doctors and health professionals to manage conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Make sure you know the risk factors that can have an impact on your heart health.

Maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are the best defense for preventing cardiovascular disease.3

  • Pay attention to your caloric intake to maintain your healthy and desired weight
  • Aim for a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein. And limit your intake of things like sugary treats, saturated fats, sodium, red meat, and alcohol
  • Make sure you are exercising regularly. Target 150 minutes a week for moderate activity or 75 minutes of more vigorous activity
  • Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke when possible

And, also make a commitment to learning CPR. A rescuer armed with an AED and providing high-quality CPR can help save a life. Download the Why CPR booklet.

To learn more about steps you can take to prevent SCA, as well as how you can educate others, please visit the American Heart Association.

1"Lyndon B. Johnson, Proclamation 3566—American Heart Month, 1964." The American Presidency Project Website. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=75180. Accessed 22 Jan. 2018.
2“Statistical Update.” American Heart Association Website, www.cpr.heart.org/AHAECC/CPRAndECC/General/UCM_477263_Cardiac-Arrest-Statistics.jsp. Accessed 11 Aug. 2017.
3 "The American Heart Association’s Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations.” American Heart Association  Websitehttp://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/The-American-Heart-Associations-Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.WlZDXa6nFEY. Accessed 25 Jan. 2018.