February is Heart Month, and not just because of the recently passed Valentine’s Day. Health organizations use the month to bring awareness to heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States.
About 650,000 people pass away each year in the U.S. from heart disease, according to the White House proclamation on American Heart Month. The proclamation also stated the disease disproportionately impacts Black and brown Americans, Indigenous Americans and Alaska Natives, and people living in rural areas.
People use exercise machines in the Pottstown YMCA cardio room. (MediaNews Group File Photo)
Food and information on display explain how healthy eating impacts diabetes during a combined wellness fair and blood drive at the Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown. (MediaNews Group File Photo)
Hyalene Nash, 73, and Ayania Warrick, 8, exercise during a Zumba class demonstration in the Pottstown YMCA fitness studio. (MediaNews Group File Photo)
Dietitian Shreya Patel holds a food plate which showcases proportion sizes used for healthy eating during a combined wellness fair and blood drive held at Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown. (MediaNews Group File Photo)
Pottstown YMCA wellness director Jennifer Gaj does a blood pressure screening on member Eric Scatchard. (MediaNews Group File Photo)
“Cardiovascular diseases — including heart conditions and strokes — are also a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths, which are highest among women of color,” stated the White House proclamation.
People with COVID may also experience heart conditions. The virus that causes COVID-19 can lead to heart problems, in addition to lung issues.
“Lung damage caused by the virus prevents oxygen from reaching the heart muscle, which in turn damages the heart tissue and prevents it from getting oxygen to other tissues,” stated the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
This month, the institute is sharing resources and tips for self-care and healthy living activities that can help improve heart health.
“Practicing self-care can keep our hearts healthy. Being physically active, eating healthier foods, getting enough sleep, not smoking, and finding healthy ways to reduce stress can help prevent heart disease,” states the institute.
Below is a list of upcoming events in the region that can help people practice self-care and engage in a healthy lifestyle. For more information and tips about American Heart Month, visit www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/american-heart-month/about.
COVID-19 in the Black Community Virtual Presentation on Feb. 23
Montgomery County is offering the community a virtual health and wellness series in honor of Black History Month. The series happens every Wednesday of February with a different subject matter. The final event of the series will be on Feb. 23 from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the Black community. The virtual webinar will also include a performance by the Pine Forge Academy. For more information and to register for the webinar, visit montcopa.org/blackhistorymonth.
The Contours of Depression and Anxiety Webinar on Feb. 23
Doylestown Health is offering a free online presentation to the public on Feb. 23 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The webinar will discuss the symptoms of depression and anxiety. A licensed psychologist will present on the difference between the two conditions and how they can occur together. Participants will learn resources on how to navigate through the diagnosis for both depression and anxiety. For more information and to register, visit bit.ly/DoylestownHealth_DepressionAnxiety.
Eating for a Healthy Heart Virtual Presentation on Feb. 23
Maureen Boccella, a registered dietitian, will discuss heart-healthy eating. Discussion topics will include fiber, fats, sodium, and plant-based nutrition. Chester County Hospital is offering the virtual event on Zoom. The free presentation will take place on Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants will be able to ask questions during the discussion. For more information and to register online, visit bit.ly/ChescoHospital_HeartHealthyEating. For questions, email CCHWellness@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.
Online Emotional Eating Series Beginning March 22
Chester County Hospital is offering a series entitled “A Conversation About Emotional Eating.” A registered dietitian will lead the interactive series and offer tips. The four-week program is free and designed for people who struggle with their health goals because of emotional eating. The virtual series will be offered through Zoom beginning on May 22 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. People can register by calling 610-738-2300 or by visiting bit.ly/ChescoHospital_EmotionalEating to register online. For questions, email CCHWellness@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.
Healthy Eating and Meal Planning for Expectant Parents Webinar on Feb. 24
Doylestown Health is offering a free online program to the community on Feb. 24 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A nutrition expert will teach about healthy eating during pregnancy. Topics will include food choices, nutrition labels, whole foods and more. For more information and to register for the event, visit https://bit.ly/DoysletownHealth_PregnancyHealthyEating. For questions, email Marlene Rosenblum, parent education coordinator, at email@example.com.