York Hospital caregivers (left to right) from Kittery Family Practice, Cardiology, and the Cardiac Cath Lab help raise awareness for American Heart Month on National Wear Red Day.







February was first recognized as American Heart Month in 1963, when President Lyndon B. Johnson made an official proclamation noting the “staggering” physical and economic loss to the country caused by the fact that “over one-half of the 10 million Americans afflicted by the cardiovascular diseases are stricken during their most productive years.”

In 2004, a national Go Red For Women educational campaign commenced, kicking off on the first Friday in February to raise women’s awareness that heart disease is their number 1 cause of death and to encourage all women to take preventive action. Every first Friday in February since then has been recognized as National Wear Red Day,* a way for people everywhere—women and men alike—to raise awareness about heart disease. Cardiovascular disease sometimes presents different symptoms for women than for men. Providing targeted education and potentially life-saving information about this disease to ALL our patients and in all our communities is one of York Hospital’s goals. 

In the 60 years since that first American Heart Month campaign, its importance has grown, for two main reasons. The campaign focuses attention on the fact that heart disease remains a top cause of death and seeks to educate each of us on symptoms and what to do if we, or someone we know, is experiencing any of them. But American Heart Month also focuses attention on and celebrates the fact that today, in 2023, scientific and technological advances have given us a much more comprehensive understanding of the disease and the risk factors associated with it. Today, we know much more about which risk factors are modifiable and we have evidence-based primary and secondary preventive measures (lifestyle changes, early diagnosis and medications) that make it possible for us to modify those risk factors and, most importantly, improve our heart health. 

Each week during February we will introduce you to York Hospital experts who have a particular interest in cardiovascular care and heart health. Throughout the month, we will share insights and advice from York Hospital’s Krista Michelin, MD, cardiologist; Jonathan Bridges, MD, FACC, interventional cardiologist with a specialty in vascular disease; Megan Patten, MS, RD, LD, registered dietitian; and Anne Marie Prewitt, MS, clinical exercise physiologist. Most of us have seen and heard enough on the news in recent years to know that diet and exercise are often referenced in conversations regarding cardiovascular care and heart health. You may not really understand how they are related or exactly what primary and secondary preventive measures mean, so we encourage you to check back weekly throughout the month. It will do your heart good!

* Many York Hospital caregivers participated in National Wear Red day today. We are happy to share some photos taken at our different community locations, and will continue to share them each week throughout the month.