Heart Month Increases Awareness

Valentines Day reminds us all of hearts. The American Heart Association encourages this, but their focus is not on those little candies that say Be Mine. February is Heart Month, and each year the American Heart Association emphasizes a different aspect of taking care of each other and ourselves.

In 1963, the President declared February to be American Heart Month. The idea behind the focus is not that efforts in new treatments, knowledge, or technologies are increased, but that general public awareness is intensified. According to statistics on the American Heart Association website, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in America. Sudden cardiac arrest claims about 225,000 lives each year.

The theme for Heart Month 2001 is “Be Prepared for Cardiac Emergencies.” The AHA suggests three steps that anyone can do to help in an emergency situation:

  • Know the Signs of Cardiac Arrest: victim loses consciousness, stops normal breathing, and loses pulse and blood pressure.

  • Call 911 Immediately.

  • Give Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

The AHA encourages everyone to learn CPR. Call 1-877-AHA-4CPR to get information on a course in your area.

There are other ways to get involved with the American Heart Association, such as participating in fund-raising heart walks or working with promotional activities to spread the word. The North Carolina Council of the AHA has an office in Asheville, North Carolina.

Also, the association’s website is full of ways to get involved. Check out www.americanheart.org.

Every seven minutes three people die as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. Learning and applying the three steps to being prepared for cardiac emergencies will, the AHA hopes, diminish that statistic.