February is American Heart Month, and this year Feb. 2 was National Wear Red for Women Day, which encourages people to wear red to help raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases. This year the Legislative Women’s Caucus has again supported a Senate Concurrent Resolution to recognize women’s heart health in the month of February.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports that cardiovascular diseases are the nation’s leading cause of death for men and women; 44% of women are living with some type of heart disease, but only about 56% recognize heart disease as their number one killer.
High blood pressure is a contributing factor – 43% of women have high blood pressure, including about 1 in 5 women of reproductive age. High blood pressure develops in about 1 in 8 pregnancies, and pregnant women with high blood pressure are at high risk for developing heart disease later in life. Unfortunately, fewer than 1 in 4 women have their blood pressure condition under control.
In California, the CDC reports that 65,471 persons died from heart disease in 2021. Even so, California has the 14th lowest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country. With more awareness, that number can go much lower.
In 1964, President Lyndon 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.
By monitoring our HDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, body mass index, and by getting more exercise, along with other factors, countless lives can be saved. Fortunately, it is believed that 87% of all heart health-related issues are preventable.
Unfortunately, many people remain uniformed about the dangers of heart disease and how to prevent it. Raising awareness is critical, which is why I’m so happy to participate with my colleagues in American Heart Month and National Wear Red Day.