It’s Valentine’s Day! Join these NHC Members in Celebrating Heart Health Month
By: Breshay Moore, Coordinator, Digital Media
February is American Heart Month. This month raises awareness about heart disease and the importance of cardiovascular health.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Education and awareness about heart disease can empower Americans to practice heart health and decrease their risk. In many cases, heart disease is preventable if people adopt a healthy lifestyle, such as managing stress, maintaining a heart healthy diet, getting regular health screenings, and participating in daily physical activity for at least 30 to 60 minutes. This month the NHC is spotlighting our members who focus on advocating for people with heart disease and promoting the importance of heart health.
American Heart Association
Heart and blood vessel disease (also called heart disease) includes numerous problems, many of which are related to a process called atherosclerosis. The American Heart Association (AHA) is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.
The six cardiologists who founded the American Heart Association in 1924 would be amazed.
From humble beginnings, the AHA has grown into the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. A shared focus on cardiovascular health unites the AHA’s more than 40 million volunteers and supporters as well as our more than 2,800 employees. Learn more about the organization’s impact over time.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer worldwide, and stroke ranks second globally. Even when those conditions don’t result in death, they cause disability and diminish quality of life. AHA want to see a world free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
The organization’s size and scope have real impact. The AHA has invested more than $4.8 billion in research, making the group the largest not-for-profit funding source for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease research next to the federal government. Learn more about AHA’s life-changing funded research breakthroughs.
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
This month, NHC member WomenHeart also shines a spotlight via its #29DaysOfHeart social media campaign, to raise awareness on the disproportionate impact of heart disease among African American women.
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease was founded in 1999 by three women, Nancy Loving, Jackie Markham, and Judy Mingram who had heart attacks while in their 40s and faced many obstacles, including misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, and social isolation. These women, who lived respectively in Washington, DC, New York City, and Santa Ana, CA did not know each other at the time of their heart attacks. But they each shared a common experience about how little information or services were available for women with heart disease. To them, the issue seemed invisible within the women’s health care community.
In 1998 when Markham decided she wanted to start an organization to help women living with heart disease, which often went unrecognized, leading to serious consequences. She told her friend Myrna Blyth, who had just launched More magazine, about how she felt and what she wanted to accomplish. Blyth assigned the story of women living with heart disease, which came to life though interviews with Markham, Mingram, and Loving.
As a result, the trio connected and formed their own tiny support network. Their shared sense that more must be done to support women living with heart disease inspired the three women to reach out to the tens of thousands of other women who were facing the same challenges. And so, WomenHeart was created in 1999, the first – and still only – national patient-centered organization that would focus exclusively on women’s heart disease.
Under the leadership of co-founder and executive director, Loving, WomenHeart grew from a fledgling organization to one that can today highlight many accomplishments. WomenHeart’s growth is a credit to the work of its committed Board of Directors, Scientific Advisory Council, volunteers, staff, and corporate partners who spend countless hours advancing awareness of women’s heart health. Since 1999, WomenHeart has successfully:
- Developed the only national network of patient support groups across the country – nearly 100 in more than 30 states.
- Trained more than 900 women heart disease survivors as community educators via the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium in collaboration with Mayo Clinic.
- Hosted bi-annual Advocacy Institute conferences to train women living with heart disease to be public policy advocates and form the basis of a grassroots policy movement.
- Created the Red Bag of Courage® program placing educational information about women and heart disease directly into the hands of hundreds of thousands of women living with or at-risk for heart disease.
- Held the first National Policy & Science Summit for women’s cardiovascular health.
Family Heart (FH) Foundation
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common life-threatening genetic condition that causes high cholesterol. Lipoprotein(a) is an important genetic risk factor. High Lp(a) levels are associated with higher risk for heart attacks, aortic stenosis, and stroke. The mission of the Family Heart (FH) Foundation is to save generations of families from heart disease through timely identification and improved care of familial hypercholesterolemia and elevated lipoprotein(a). Through research, advocacy, and education they play a critical role in driving change and empowering families to navigate their own health.
The mission of the Family Heart Foundation is to save generations of families from heart disease through timely identification and improved care of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and Lipoprotein(a). Through research, advocacy, and education the Family Heart Foundation plays a critical role in driving change, and empower families to navigate their own health.
The Family Heart Foundation is the result of the team effort of patients and health care practitioners who have joined their knowledge and passion to help others and drive change. The organization is honored to have experts from around the world share their expertise and research as part of their Scientific Advisory Board. The group’s success is rooted in collaboration, innovation, and commitment. With the help of a dedicated group of clinicians, researchers, professional organizations, governmental representatives, and volunteers, the Family Heart Foundation takes pride in its forward-thinking and versatile approach to making a real change in the world of FH and Lipoprotein(a).
The Family Heart Foundation is the leader for research, advocacy, and education for those at genetic high risk for heart attacks and strokes. They address gaps in FH and Lp(a) diagnosis and treatment by:
- Following outcomes of FH patients in the national CASCADE FH® Registry and address gaps in diagnosis and treatment
- Convening an annual global summit dedicated to the science and treatment of FH and LP(a)
- Leading international coalitions to develop guidelines to improve care for individuals at genetic-risk for cardiovascular disease
- Creating an artificial intelligence algorithm to FIND FH® before it does damage
- Establishing National FH Awareness Day on September 24, which is now strengthened by multiple state proclamations and recognized on a global scale
- Training national Advocates for Awareness to raise health professional and public awareness of FH and Lp(a)
Mended Hearts offers hope to heart disease patients, their families, and caregivers. Mended Hearts mission is to inspire hope and improve the quality of life of heart patients and their families through ongoing peer-to-peer support, education, and advocacy.
The Mended Hearts program is the nation’s premier peer-support program for patients who have cardiovascular disease, their caregivers, and their families. Since its founding in 1951, Mended Hearts has served millions by providing support and education, bringing awareness to issues that those living with heart disease face, and advocating to improve quality of life across the lifespan.