February Marks 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month

February got off to a disappointing start this year, as Punxsutawney Phil let us down once again, predicting six more weeks of winter. That’s easy for him to say. He goes back into hibernation and we scrape ice off our windshields, shovel our driveways, push our cars and plan to move to a tropical climate. Despite the groundhog’s recent prediction, there is cause to celebrate February.

This month, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of American Heart Month, established in 1964 when then-president Lyndon B. Johnson signed a proclamation designating February as American Heart Month. “It is essential to the health and well-being of our nation that our citizens be made aware of the medical, social and economic aspects of the problem of cardiovascular diseases and the measures being taken to combat them,” he wrote. 

Since that proclamation, there has been one signed each year by the president, each one pointing out the importance of awareness and education about heart and cardiovascular health and recognizing the most recent strides made toward combating cardiovascular diseases, which remain the No. 1 killer of Americans, claiming more deaths each year than all cancers combined.

The exciting thing is that we have made significant progress since the days of LBJ, and there are numerous amounts of statistics to prove it. In short, though our country’s population has increased by more than 70 percent since the early 60’s, the number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases has decreased. This victory has been credited to awareness, education and research by organizations like the American Heart Association and individuals, including volunteers, family caretakers, educators, physicians, researchers and health care workers.
When President Barack Obama signed the proclamation this year he pointed out that anyone can develop heart disease but there are steps we can take to reduce our risk factors. He urges us to ‘know our numbers,’ such as our blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body mass index, and do what we can to eliminate or reduce our risk factors, such as smoking, poor nutrition, inactivity and excessive stress.

Obama also promised that he and First Lady Michelle Obama would wear red on Feb. 7, National Wear Red Day, in solidarity with those struggling with heart disease and to acknowledge the contributions of the hard working health care professionals who provide life-saving treatment, research and advice. “As we honor their contributions, let us take ownership of our heart health and commit to positive lifestyles, this month and throughout the year,” he said.

Since 2003, the first Friday in February has been known as National Wear Red Day. The event was established by The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, to raise awareness that heart disease, once thought to be more prevalent among men, is also the number one killer of women, and it actually affects more women than men. Because women are often the nurturers, taking care of their children, families, homes and others, they often neglect to care for their own hearts.

On Feb. 7, National Wear Red Day, it was inspiring to see a sea of red, here at Health Journeys, at gas stations, restaurants  in public places, online and on TV. Virtually everywhere, red dresses, hats, scarves, shirts, lapel pins, jackets and sweaters were worn by women, men, children and even pets. From our offices to the Oval Office, it did our hearts good to see people sporting red to support hearth health.
National and local businesses have joined in the healthy heart campaign and many offer bonuses and free events, from discounts on purchases to free health screenings. Check your local newspaper or go online to find events in your area.

Here at Health Journeys, we are excited to offer our first-ever discount on our already discounted packs, to help you care for your hard-working physical heart and your tender emotional heart. To commemorate American Heart Month, you can purchase our Heal Your Physical Heart pack for just $39.95; or our Heal Your Emotional Heart pack for only $32.95, a whopping $5 off the already discounted price of each.

The packs make great gifts for yourself or someone else, and each pack comes in a beautiful white bag, tied with a commemorative red ribbon. 

To find more resources for everything from relieving stress to tackling weight loss, and high blood pressure to dealing with heartbreak, check out our brand new 2014 Catalog. To learn more about mind-body modalities for dealing with heart and cardiovascular disease, see Belleruth’s blog, Easy, Free Access to Some of the Best Mind-Body Databases in the World.

Don’t forget to send yourself a valentine this month and have a very happy, healthy heart month from your friends at Health Journeys.