Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. In fact, it claims the lives of more women than chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and lung cancer combined.
February 1st marked the beginning of American Heart Month, a time to think about what you can do to take care of your heart.
HHS Sponsors American Heart Month
HHS is working to help Americans improve their heart health by raising awareness of heart disease with several programs around the Department:
- Million Hearts aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017, by educating the public and health care professionals to fight heart disease and stroke.
- The Heart Truth campaign aims to give women a personal and urgent wakeup call about their risk of heart disease. The centerpiece of The Heart Truth is the Red Dress, the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness, introduced in 2002 by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.
- First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative provides adults and children with resources and tips to make heart healthy changes in their lives.
- HHS is also reaching out to Latinas with Haga La Llamada. ¡No Pierda Tiempo! , which builds on the Make the Call. Don't Miss a Beat campaign. This new Spanish-language campaign aims to educate and encourage Spanish-speaking women to call 911 when they or their mothers, sisters, or friends experience any symptom of a heart attack.
Using Social Media to Promote Heart Health
Consistent with the Digital Government Strategy, many programs are using social media in new and innovative ways to reach the public with heart-healthy information. This customer-centric approach to outreach allows the public to find helpful information anywhere, at any time, on any device. This also empowers those receiving these messages to share information with their own social networks, helping add trust and validity to the issue. The Heart Truth's activities this month include:
- National Wear Red Day®, which supports the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness. On the first Friday in February each year, women and men across the country unite in the national movement to give women a personal and urgent wakeup call about their risk of heart disease. Photos from this year's celebration were share with The Heart Truth on Facebook .
- A heart health Twitter chat was held on February 1 st with BET Networks' CENTRIC, the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the U.S. Surgeon General, and The Heart Truth. The chat included information on how to maintain heart health, particularly in the African-American community and trended nationally.
- The Heart Truth and partners Siempre Mujer, Discovery Familia, and the American Heart Association will hold a Spanish language Facebook chat on February 13 th to discuss women's heart health and heightened risks in the Hispanic community.
- Pinterest promotion of heart-healthy tips through The Heart Truth's account in English and Spanish and through campaign partners.
- Livestream of the Red Dress Collection SM 2013 Fashion Show on Facebook on Wednesday, February 6 th, at 7:00 PM ET. This event will feature celebrity participants and top fashion designers. Partners and celebrities will stream and comment on the event on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Text message outreach through ACC's free CardioSmartTXT SMS text messaging service.
- A celebrity-sourced playlist on Spotify developed by The Fashion Spot to encourage physical activity.
Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
The good news for women and men is that most risk factors for heart disease—including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, and smoking—are preventable and controllable. Controlling these risks could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 80%. That's why the Affordable Care Act is making preventive services—such as blood pressure and cholesterol screening, smoking cessation, and obesity counseling—more accessible and at no out-of-pocket cost to millions of Americans with private health insurance and those with Medicare.
To learn more about American Heart Month, heart disease, and prevention, please visit:
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