Guest Blog: Reclaim Your Rhythm this American Heart Month
By Nancy Brown, CEO, American Heart Association
Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. That’s why during American Heart Month in February and all year long, the American Heart Association works to eradicate heart disease, the nation’s leading killer.
American Heart Month was created by a congressional joint resolution approved on December 30, 1963. Since then and thanks to science, research, and advocacy efforts, we’ve seen advances in biomedical research, improved emergency response systems, and treatment and prevention awareness. All these efforts have helped people live longer, healthier lives.
For more than 40 years, American Heart Association volunteers and staff have been advocating for heart-healthy and stroke-smart policies on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in state capitals and in communities across the country.
Although we have made remarkable progress in reducing death from heart disease since the inaugural American Heart Month, cardiovascular disease remains a major health threat in this country, killing more people than all forms of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined. Unfortunately, the burden of heart disease is now growing faster than our ability to combat it, due to an increase in major risk factors including obesity, poor diet, high blood pressure and a rise in Type 2 diabetes.
Now with cardiovascular disease deaths on the rise and long-term health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic becoming clearer, it is more urgent than ever that we work together to alleviate the burden of cardiovascular disease. For communities of color, serious action is needed to address the pandemic’s disproportionate burden on Black and Latino communities.
To respond to these and other pressing issues related to heart disease and stroke, the American Heart Association is working with lawmakers at the federal, state, and community levels to improve public health. Through our nationwide grassroots network of You’re The Cure advocates, we have generated bipartisan support for priority public policy issues, such as:
- Increasing government funding for scientific research and prevention programs;
- Passing strong policies to achieve the Tobacco Endgame;
- Expanding access to quality, affordable health care;
- Increasing access to healthy foods;
- Creating opportunities for physical activity;
- Improving air quality;
- Strengthening the public health infrastructure and systems of care; and
- Ensuring state and local governments address the health concerns of their constituents.
Your voice matters to help ensure everyone lives longer, healthier lives. You can also take steps right now to improve your own well-being. Throughout the month of February and all year long, the American Heart Association is urging everyone to “reclaim your rhythm” – to create healthy habits that improve your heart health.
Now is the perfect time to jump start healthy habits and recommit to reducing stress, engaging in physical activity, eating healthy meals, being aware of your blood pressure, and learning hands-only CPR.
Learn more by visiting heart.org.
The American Heart Association is a National Health Council member. For more information on membership, click here.