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: American Heart Month 2014: A Testament to Progress and Research

American Heart Month 2014: A Testament to Progress and Research

Managing Editor

For 50 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has worked diligently to fight against cardiovascular disease--especially cardiovascular disease among women. This work has contributed to five decades of increased awareness, education, and fundraising.

During this time, we've also seen a significant decrease in deaths from heart disease. In 1960, there were about 924,000 deaths from all types of cardiovascular disease. By 2010, that number had dropped to below 784,000. The decline is great news. But the fact that during this time period, the country saw a 72 percent increase in population (that's an influx of 129 million people), means that the decline is even more impressive.        

According to Nancy Brown, AHA CEO, there are many reasons for the decline. Technology, enhanced medications, better diagnostic methods, greater information about the benefits of healthy diets and exercise, and the anti-smoking movement all play a role in the lower number of deaths from heart disease. But more than those elements, clinical research has played a major role in helping to decrease deaths from heart disease.

Brown asserts that much of the progress that has been made toward fighting heart disease stems from doctors and researchers studying how to treat and prevent cardiovascular diseases. The progress over the past 50 years is immense, but there's still work to be done.

Some of the most important clinical research in the area of heart disease has been research that focuses on women. Research has revealed thatheart disease killed more women each year than all forms of cancer combined. And yes, that includes breast cancer.

Pink ribbon campaigns have worked wonders to increase awareness and education about breast cancer. Taking a page from that book, the AHA in 2003 established National Wear Red Day® to bring attention to heart disease in women. Now, on the first Friday of February, the AHA encourages "everyone to wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk, and take action to live longer, healthier lives."

National Wear Red Day has also contributed to significant strides in the fight against heart disease. According to the AHA, since the campaign launched, 34 percent fewer women now die from heart disease, and awareness that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women is up 23 percent. But there's still a lot of work to do. According to the Cleveland Clinic, many Americans are still unclear regarding the facts of heart disease.

So this Friday, wear your red proudly and take control of your cardiovascular health! And if you're still a little foggy on the facts, check out this infographic from the Cleveland Clinic.

Love -Your -Heart -Infographic _FNL


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