The month of February is considered the month to celebrate love and lovers as seen in the middle of the month with Valentine’s Day. February is also known as American Heart Month. The awareness of heart disease that is the cause of more than 600,000 deaths of Americans each year is done on the month that recognizes the heart of love. Heart disease is documented to be the leading cause of deaths for not only men, but in women. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart attacks and death. February became the month celebrating this awareness in 1963 and has grown with activities through the American Heart Association.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has researched and documented that one in four deaths of women is due to heart disease. Other diseases, including cancer, are ranked in causing deaths in men and women, but heart disease has surpassed cancer that was once the leading cause for deaths among women in the American population. The CDC along with other health institutions have joined together in the fight to understand heart disease to encourage healthy choices, along with smart decisions that decrease the major risks associated with heart disease.
STD’s and Heart Disease
Studies of heart disease are also looking into the connections of sexually transmitted diseases and the link to coronary heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the building up of cholesterol and other fatty deposits in the lining of the arteries, coating the walls and blocking the flow of blood to other parts of the body. Research has found the pathogen called Chlamydia in the gunk of the hardened or blocked arteries. These groups of Chlamydia pathogens and the sub-groups are being dubbed the “heart attack germ”. This discovery of those with Chlamydia pathogens and antibodies are now having twice the opportunity of developing and dying from coronary heart disease.
Chlamydia and Inflammation in the Heart
Chlamydia is a leading sexually transmitted disease spread through unprotected sexual encounters. Chlamydia causes female infertility, eye infections, pneumonia and now triggering other health problems with inflammation in the heart. This is especially true if early testing and treatment is not sought after when unprotected sex has occurred. This STD infection has become increasingly wide spread where more and more people are expected to have at least one episode of Chlamydia during their lifetime. One episode is enough to have undetected problems in the future without proper detection and treatment. Whether these infections lead to heart disease later in life still depends on genetics, the strains of the disease as well as how early the proper treatment began and was follow-up with regular testing and use of protection during future sexual encounters.
The bacteria that is Chlamydia, and its strains, continues to be studied as more complications are noted. The bacteria needs to be tested and cultured to receive the best medical treatment to prevent further complications associated with other health and heart issues. These health complications affect both men and women when treatment is delayed. The American Heart Month is a way to bring coronary artery disease, heart health and other diseases that can affect heart health now and during the lifetime of men and women, to the public’s attention.
February is not the only American Heart Month, a month to bring heart disease awareness to the public, but it is the start of a year full of health awareness to the public. This awareness expands to all health and how sexual behavior is part of a complete healthy lifestyle. Take time in February to not only seek out the perfect Valentine card for that special someone, but to look for ways to be heart healthy for the ones you love.