In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson recognized February as the nation’s first official American Heart Month (AHM). Since his proclamation, all succeeding presidents are annually requested to do the same.
Johnson’s declaration was a turning point in America’s health history. From 1960 to 2010, the US population increased more than 72 percent, yet the annual number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases decreased by the tens of thousands.
Nonetheless, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both women and men in the US.
The NHC is proud to support three of our member organizations who are committed to lowering this number even further.
The American Heart Association (AHA) is the nation’s oldest and largest patient organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Since its founding in 1949, it has funded more than $4 billion in heart disease research. One of the ways they are celebrating AHM is by encouraging volunteers to knit and crotchet red hats for babies born in February at participating hospitals. Their “Little Hats, Big Hearts” project raises awareness of congenital heart defects, which is the leading birth defect in newborns.
Mended Hearts is a national and community-based organization that provides programs, resources, support groups, and education initiatives for heart disease patients and their families. It has become the largest heart patient peer support network in the world, spanning 300 chapters across North America. Mended Hearts also runs Mended Little Hearts, which provides the same services but for children with congenital heart disease and their families. From February 7 - 14, Mended Little Hearts will also celebrate Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week (CHDA). It will be hosting numerous social media campaigns, including a photo contest, a virtual marathon, and daily facts about CHDA to raise awareness and funding for the disease.
WomenHeart is the first and only national patient-centered organization dedicated to serving women with heart disease. It has trained more than 900 heart disease survivors as community educators and held the first National Policy & Science Summit for women’s cardiovascular health. For Heart Month, WomenHeart launched a social media campaign accompanied by the hashtag #29daysofheart. Follow its twitter page for patients’ stories, lifestyle-related prevention tips, and other heart disease content.
The NHC encourages you to visit these organizations’ websites for more information on heart disease prevention and how you can get involved in your community. From reducing sodium intake to advocating for research, there are many ways that you can help fight to lower the nation’s rate of heart disease.