February is all about matters of the heart. That’s not because of Valentine’s Day alone.
Since 1963 onward, the month commonly associated with red and pink, has gotten a shade redder, with Congress declaring it as the “American Heart Month.”
In February 2004, the American Heart Association set some hearts aflutter when it launched the Go Red for Women campaign, a nationwide movement to educate women about cardiac diseases.
February 2 is Go Red for Women Day, a day that women give a shout-out to their hearts and show to the world that they not only have caring hearts, but that they also care about their own hearts.
In observance of that, the Center for HOPE, a local counseling and support center, kicked off its month-long cardiovascular celebration, with a proclamation by first selectwoman Evonne Klein.
President of Family Centers, Bob Arnold and director of Center for HOPE Deirdre Lewin, were among those who attended the event.
At the center, everywhere the eyes strayed, one was greeted by a profusion of red—on paper cups, on brooches, on furniture. Red is the dress code of the campaign.
Heart disease remains the No.1 killer of women in the U.S., claiming nearly 500,000 lives each year. That translates to a death a minute, said Laurel Carey, the center’s Hearts of Hope coordinator.
Yet, oddly enough, “women are often surprised to learn that it’s not a ‘man’s’ disease.’ It’s mostly women who make doctors’ appointments for their spouses, their children, and their parents.
As a result, they often put themselves at the bottom of the priority list for health checkups. Many women report that they’re too tired or too stressed to take care of themselves,” said Carey.
A fairly new initiative of the center, “Hearts of Hope,” the program provides counseling to help cardiac patients and their families cope with the psychological issues associated with the disease.
During the course of this month, the Center for HOPE will conduct a series of talks in and around the area, in the interest of generating local awareness. It’s also partnering with a gift boutique to help raise funds that will go toward a hearty cause.
On February 9, Goldenberry, at 110 Boston Post Road, will host a small party for those interested in sampling and buying exotic tea blends. 10 percent of the proceeds from the purchases will go toward the “Hearts of Hope” program.
Carey also gave a presentation on ways of lowering the risks of heart problems.
While gender, sex, and family history are non-modifiable factors, others such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, exercising, obesity and last, but not least, stress, are modifiable, said Carey.
Obese children with a sedentary lifestyle, who binge on junk-food and make fewer visits to the gym are also in the high-risk category,” she said.