Knowledge Saves Lives

February is American Heart Month, and this year February 4th was National Wear Red Day, encouraging people to wear red to help raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death for men and women, accounting for approximately one out of every three deaths nationwide. Among women, cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer, with one death almost every 80 seconds. An estimated 44 million women in the United States are affected by cardiovascular disease each year. In California, nearly one-third of women’s deaths are also the result of cardiovascular disease, with Hispanic and African-American women at higher-risk.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared February National Heart Health Month, nine years after his own heart attack. Since then, National Wear Red Day, supported by the American Heart Association, has been commemorated throughout the United States to raise awareness about heart disease, strokes and their prevention. Fortunately, it is believed that 87% of all heart health-related issues are preventable.

That’s why I was so happy to join the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement to motivate women to learn their family histories and to meet with their health care providers to determine their risks for heart attack and stroke. Women are encouraged to take control of their heart health by knowing and managing their total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index and other factors. On February 4th, I joined many of my Assembly colleagues to ‘wear red’ in an attempt to raise awareness about the causes of heart disease and the steps that can be taken to lessen the risks.

So many deaths from heart attack and stroke are preventable. American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day are small attempts to raise awareness and save lives.