Awareness Saves Lives

Amber Gorbel, Crown writer and photographer

When people hear the month of February, the most common thing to think of is Valentines Day. While people are preparing special gifts and dates for their significant other, they are forgetting to recognize that the 14th is not the most important day of the month. In fact, that is just one out of the 28 days that should have a deeper meaning; that February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular disease is the number one health threat in the world. Being aware of what is causing it and educating others on ways they can prevent it might just save a life.

Each year, about 610,000 people die from heart disease. It is the leading cause of death in today’s society which is quite concerning. “There are a few explanations on why cardiovascular disease is occurring. This includes living a sedentary lifestyle, having a high amount of cholesterol, or being a heavy smoker. You could also be at risk of having heart disease if it runs through your family history,” says Mr. Tonkin, a science teacher at Marian. A sedentary lifestyle means a person spends their everyday life doing absolutely zero physical activity. When a person does not exercise, the body is at risk of high blood pressure which could lead towards heart disease. People with sedentary lifestyles most likely have bad eating habits. An unhealthy diet builds up cholesterol, which can block the blood flow to your heart and result in a heart attack. Awareness for this topic could lead the common youth to make better decisions about their eating habits and staying healthy.

People have to make more mindful decisions about their health, or else the consequences will catch up to them. The burdens of heart disease are harder to deal with than simply trying to prevent it in the first place. “If you have a high risk of heart disease, you won’t be able to do everyday activities. Simply walking up the stairs could be difficult because you are not active enough. If you have heart problems, it could lead to other problems because your heart pushes blood to the other organs and cells in your body,” explains Tonkin. Believe it or not, smoking cigarettes can also cause the person to be at risk of a heart attack. The heart needs to push oxygen to the lungs, and the carbon monoxide in the smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood. A heavy smoker is unable to do much physical activity because oxygen is not being produced fast enough. When one is vigilant on how they take care of their body, then their daily activities will be easier to achieve.

Although the rate is high, it is not hard to prohibit the risk of heart disease. “It is not rocket science,” justifies Tonkin. “Exercising daily and eating healthy is pretty much all you need to do to not only prevent heart disease but other illnesses as well.” Even if it runs in the family, one can make the effort in living a healthy lifestyle to decrease the risk. A healthy diet will regulate the amount of cholesterol and the body’s weight. Obesity increases the possibility of heart disease. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens the heart and improves circulation. It is also important that a person gets their blood pressure tested regularly to make sure they are in good condition. The only way to forestall heart disease would be by discipline and self-restraint.

Every February, people should reflect on their daily activities to make sure they are doing what is beneficial for their heart and their overall health. This number one health threat is ending thousands of lives because of their poor decision making. Giving someone constructive criticism can ensure that they are making healthy choices.