On February 5, 2024, the West Virginia Department of Health (DH) announced a partnership with the American Heart Association to raise awareness about cardiovascular health, particularly focusing on women, as part of American Heart Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart-related illnesses and deaths among women in the United States are often avoidable, yet nearly half of U.S. women are unaware that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.
DH Cabinet Secretary Sherri A. Young, D.O., MBA, FAAFP, emphasized the importance of healthy lifestyle habits in managing and preventing cardiovascular diseases and related conditions like high blood pressure. She urged women and all West Virginians to take proactive steps to prioritize their heart health and to encourage their loved ones to do the same.
In line with the awareness efforts, on February 2, 2024, the American Heart Association, along with partners including DH, the West Virginia Department of Health Facilities, and the West Virginia Department of Human Services, observed National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease. The overarching goal of this initiative is to eliminate heart disease and stroke.
Michelle Loehr, Executive Director for the American Heart Association, highlighted the significance of the 100th anniversary of the association and the 20th anniversary of the Go Red for Women campaign. She emphasized the importance of preventive measures, such as consulting with healthcare providers, understanding family history, and monitoring health metrics, known as “know your numbers.”
For those seeking additional information on American Heart Month, resources are available online. Additionally, individuals interested in pursuing careers in the public health field can explore opportunities on the DH website.
As the partnership between the West Virginia Department of Health and the American Heart Association continues to raise awareness and promote cardiovascular health, the hope is to empower individuals, especially women, to take proactive steps towards a heart-healthy lifestyle.