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Don’t die of doubt

February is American Heart Month. It’s a time when the nation spotlights heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have delayed or avoided going to hospitals for heart attacks and strokes – netting poorer outcomes and prompting the American Heart Asso-ciation to create “Don’t Die of Doubt,” a national awareness campaign that reminds people that hospitals are the safest place to go when you have symptoms.

Tracey Davis, president of the Pike County Heart Association, said this year, the federally designated event is even more important due to the impact of the coronavirus on the public’s heart health, including potential harmful effects on the heart and vascular system, according to re-cent research.

While in lockdown, more people have engaged in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, such as eating poorly, drinking more alcohol and limiting physical activity, that can contribute to heart disease.

“Heart disease continues to be the greatest health threat to Americans,” Davis said. “According to the AHA, in most cases, heart disease is preventable when people adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week and getting regular checkups.”

Davis said, because of the pandemic, the Pike County Heart Association made the decision to cancel its annual Heart Walk fundraisers and the Red Cap Survivors Breakfast, which honors heart and stroke survivors and their caregivers.

The Heart Walk is the association’s annual fundraising event so, this year more than ever, do-nations to the AHA are so important in the continuing research into heart disease and stroke and to bringing greater awareness to the importance making good heart-healthy choices and getting regular checkups, Davis said.

Donations to the Pike County Heart Association may be made to Tracey Davis, AHA, P.O. Box 967, Troy, AL 36081.