The doors and windows of some Nebraska homes are decorated with big red hearts for Valentine’s Day, but the entire month of February is considered National Heart Month. Jayme Sandberg, spokeswoman for the American Heart Association, says heart disease and strokes kill more Nebraskans than anything else.
To be optimistic, Sandberg says the good thing about heart disease is that 80-percent of cases are preventable through regular exercise, a good diet and knowing your numbers, blood pressure and cholesterol. Heart disease and strokes are responsible for about one in every three deaths.
Sandberg says most Nebraskans likely need to be better educated about taking care of their hearts. “There’s always room for improvement,” she says. “Ninety-percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. Think about that, 90-percent. I bet that 90-percent of the listeners out there don’t think that they have risk factors for heart disease.” Some of those risk factors include: smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight or obese and physical inactivity.
Sandberg says this Friday, and the first Friday of every February, is the agency’s “Wear Red Day.” “This is a day where we ask everyone to look in their closets, see what they have red, and use that as an opportunity to start the conversation about heart disease,” she says, “because 80-percent of heart disease is preventable.”
She says there will be other special events statewide during Heart Month to raise money and awareness. Learn about them at: www.heart.org