February has been National Heart Month since 1963, but I only became concerned about my heart health a few years ago when I discovered that heart disease was the number one cause of death among American women.
I became even more aware of the importance of cardiovascular health when I learned that a 2006 Duke University study found that pregnant women had heart attacks 3-4 more often than women the same age who were not pregnant.
Throughout the month of February, I will be focusing on the importance of heart-healthy diet and exercise during and after pregnancy. We'll look at heart-healthy recipes, exercises, and explore the warning signs of heart issues during pregnancy.
Kick off the month by visiting the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women campaign website. You can download free ring tones and wallpaper for your cell phone, get a free subscription to Martha Stewart with a $50 donation, and even participate in a casting call to tell your heart health story.
Here in Chicago, keep your eye on local events celebrating National Heart Month:
- Feb 5 is Wear Red Day. Inspire friends, family and colleagues to be heart-healthy by wearing red.
- Feb 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Week. Visit Children Memorial Hospital's Big Love, Little Hearts site for more information on how to donate.
- Feb 26 from 8:30am to 2:00pm is Chicago Go Red for Women Luncheon, at The Palmer House Hilton, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL 60603. The workshop features educational sessions, health screenings and shared life-changing stories.
- Feb 24 at 5:00pm is Rockford's Go Red for Women Dinner, at Giovanni’s Restaurant & Convention Center, 610 N. Bell School Road, Rockford, IL 61107. Featuring a silent auction fundraiser, healthy gourmet dinner, and testimonies from women of all walks of life sharing their stories of survival.
- The 28th Annual Chicago Heart Ball is actually April 17th at the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier, but you should mark your calendars now for an evening of dinner, dancing, and fundraising with six hundred of Chicago's business and medical elite.