Health and Wellness Corner: Have a heart for heart disease awareness month

Christine Lee, Life Editor

February celebrates not only love and romance but also the heart. This month is American Heart Month and aims at spreading awareness of heart disease.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Heart Disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. ( This month the American Heart Association sponsors the “Go Red for Women” campaign to spread awareness of heart disease in women. (

Director of Health Services Diane O’Brien defines the disease as anything that affects the vascular system.

It is a class of diseases that involves the heart, arteries and veins, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, inflammatory heart disease and cardiomyopathy. Hypertension and heart attacks also fall under this category. (

O’Brien said some of the risk factors for heart disease include obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, lack of exercise and stress. She said other conditions have an effect on the disease as well.

“Having chronic health conditions like hypertension and diabetes play a part in heart disease, as your our chances of running into heart disease are greater,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said one can get heart disease at any age, but there is often a hereditary component involved.

Those with onset heart disease may not be able to do physical activity as well, like not being able to walk a great distance without getting winded or having chest discomfort (angina).

“Lots of times people with heart disease have a limited amount of physical activity, they get winded, or feel chest tightness short of breath,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien recommends staying physically active, watching one’s diet by looking at labels and watching the fat contents in foods to avoid the disease.

“Diet and physical activity are two of the biggest keys to avoiding (heart disease) and we need to start it early on with good habits and choices,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said good health practices started early and maintained throughout one’s life are the key to preventing heart disease.


To learn more about heart disease, go to: