February is often seen as a time for your sweetheart leading up to Valentine’s Day however, it is also American Heart Month; an opportunity for businesses, organizations and the community to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of heart health.

American Heart Month, which was first declared in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, takes place every February. The federally designated event helps to raise awareness about cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke – the No. 1 and No. 5 killers, respectively, of all Americans.

About 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 38 seconds. The health of Tampa Bay is placed into focus with 28 percent of the community having died from heart disease and with 64 percent adults being overweight or obese. It’s time to change these staggering facts here within our community and nationwide. That is why The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, is encouraging the Tampa Bay community to come out and show their support by taking part in a series of interactive events happening throughout the month – kicking off with National Wear Red Day on February 1.

A full list of events throughout the month can be seen below:

February 1 – National Wear Red Day Walk on Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa, 7:30 a.m.
National Wear Red Day Free Blood Pressure Screenings with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and Healthy St. Pete: Friday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in Downtown St. Petersburg in front of the Municipal Services Center.
Puppies and Babies Go Red
Buildings throughout Tampa Bay will light up red

February 14 – Valentine’s Day – Free health screenings at local CVS pharmacies
Heart Month Proclamation – City of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg City Hall

February 15 – The 16th Annual Tampa Bay Go Red for Women Luncheon: 1:30 p.m.-2:00 p.m.- Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel. For tickets please visit tampabaygoredluncheon.org

February 20 – Heart Month Proclamation – Hillsborough County

CVS Health Minute Clinic No-Cost Screenings -February 7, 14, 21, 28Wear red to raise awareness about heart disease – the leading cause of death in women. You can get the iconic Red Dress Pin at ShopHeart.org.
Make a donation to support the lifesaving work of the American Heart Association at WearRedDay.org or at your local CVS Pharmacy, February 3- 23.
Survivor Gallery at Bayfront Medical Center: Throughout the month of February.
Join the conversation by using #1in3 and #TBGoesRed on social media.

Can’t make it out to any events, but still want to help raise awareness? Here are a few ideas:
• Wear red on Friday, Feb. 1, National Wear Red Day
• Light your building red by using light bulbs or filters
• Place Go Red for Women window clings on windows & doors and/or fly the Go Red for Women flag (www.shopheart.org)
• Tie red ribbons on trees, doors, etc.
• Post to social media and use the hashtag #TBGoRed

While nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes, cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat. To treat, beat and prevent heart disease and stroke, everyone should understand family health history, know their five key personal health numbers to help determine risk and make healthy behavior changes like moving more, eating smart and managing blood pressure.