Monthly Focus

February is Healthy Heart Month

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 killers in the United States but early recognition and preventive intervention can be lifesaving for millions. The observance of American Heart Month was proclamed in 2004 because of the unacceptable level of morbidity and the immense toll on human lilfe. 

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

What Is It?

Glaucoma is a major cause of preventable blindness which affects all age groups from infants to seniors. The incidence is greatest among the African-American and Hispanic populations and it is a leading cause of blindness. 

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December is AIDS Awareness Month

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is now pandemic- widespread geographically- and since the 1970s has killed more than 21.8 million people.

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November is American Diabetes Month

We are acutely aware of the personal and economic toll diabetes has on our population. The direct cost to employees and employers as well as indirect costs have become staggering. The American Diabetes Association estimates that the U.S. spends $116 billion each year for medical costs and an additional $58 billion for disability benefits, work loss and premature mortality. We need to take charge and stop diabetes in its tracks!

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October is Health Literacy Month

Health literacy, the ability to obtain, understand, and apply health information in an appropriate fashion is imperative. The lack of informed consumers not only affect  our personal well-being but it affects the “health“ of our nation in a variety of sectors including  economics, morbidity and mortality, ethics, and liability.

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February is Healthy Heart Month

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 killers in the United States but early recognition and preventive intervention can be lifesaving for millions. The observance of American Heart Month was proclamed in 2004 because of the unacceptable level of morbidity and the immense toll on human lilfe. 

 

More than 64 million Americans suffer from one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, and congenital heart defects. Many of the risk factors that can lead to heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes, can be prevented or controlled. 

The more typical warning signs are: 

Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.   Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath: With or without chest discomfort.  Other signs: May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.1

While women typically experience chest pain or discomfort, it is important to know that women are more likely to present with more shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting and back or jaw pain.   

The American Heart Association supports The Heart for Women Act2

Since 1979, the death rate for heart disease in men has declined by more than 17 percent, but the death rate for women has declined by only 2.5 percent over this same period.

Minority women are particularly at risk for heart disease and stroke.  For example, nearly half of African American women (45 percent) have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared to 32 percent of white women.

More than 90 percent of primary care physicians don’t know that heart disease kills more women each year than men.

Women are less likely than men to receive certain diagnostic testing and treatments, such as angioplasties and stents, for cardiovascular diseases.

Drug and medical device effectiveness may differ in women and men, yet doctors and researchers often don’t know how safe and effective a particular medicine or device is for women.

What Can You Do? Raise awareness among women and their health care providers about the risk for women. Demand specific information that is race and gender-specific. Support screening for low-income women at risk for heart disease and stroke.


1Presidential Proclamation 7754 of February 2, 2004 

2American Heart Association- Support for Heart for Women Act

 

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