It's February. The month of sweet tarts and sweet hearts (and far too much candy being tossed around, if you ask me).
Fittingly, it also happens to American Heart Month, a time to call attention to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including stroke, which are our nation's No. 1 killer (!) A full 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease, according to the World Health Organization.
The first thing you should know is that this coming Friday, Feb. 5, is National Wear Red Day. Folks across the country will be getting their red on to help call attention in particular to women's risk of heart disease and stroke. You can check out that action on Flickr.
Where CVD Hits Home
Those of you who follow this blog may note that myself and a small group of other diabetes bloggers have been working with the American Heart Association to spread the word about diabetes and heart health, through a campaign called Heart of Diabetes (sponsored by Takeda Pharmaceuticals).
They've been gathering patient video testimonials where people talk candidly about dealing with Type 2 diabetes and heart risks.
They've also done a really nice job of giving people specific strategies for protecting their hearts, with a new campaign called The Simple 7:
- Get Active
- Control Cholesterol
- Eat Better
- Manage Blood Pressure
- Lose Weight
- Reduce Blood Sugar
- Stop Smoking
Obviously, this list of to-do's in itself is no big surprise, but the content they've created is actually pretty down-to-Earth and useful. Check out the video (link at right of page) describing how folks with Type 2 can reduce their blood sugar levels, for example. Not bad.
And where it all really hit home for me was watching Rachel Baumgartel's recent homemade jobbie, talking about her own heart risk realizations:
For February, the AHA is calling for a few simple actions to highlight heart health awareness month. Here's what you can do:
o Come up with one simple thing you plan to do to celebrate American Heart Month. Consider making a video (got Flip?) that actually shows you doing this thing
o Read through your favorite cookbook, and select diabetes-friendly and heart-healthy recipes for the month to share online
o Try out a new class at the gym, or a new set of exercises
o Talk to at least one friend or family member about their heart health and encourage them to get a physical
o Click here to get an assessment of your own personal heart risk and tips on what to do about it
o Wear red on February 5 to commemorate National Wear Red Day and demonstrate your support for women's heart disease awareness. Come on, this one's guaranteed to get you in that Valentine's mood!