Wednesday, February 01, 2012

My insurance company sent me an email today asking me to "show [my] red on facebook". That was in the title; I was curious enough to open the email. Turns out February is Heart Awareness Month. The email does not say exactly what it is I am supposed to be aware of when it comes to hearts. I think we are all aware that we have hearts- right? It's that thing that sort of burns when I do a sustained fast walk. Our awareness of hearts shows in the way we talk. Nobody talks about having kidney; they have heart. You don't take it to your liver, you take it to heart. And it's only second to the brain in terms of organs we feel that we need: you might be declared dead if your heart doesn't work, and whereas your kidneys and liver are said to "fail", if your heart doesn't work, you've been betrayed by a "heart attack"*. While it's not uncommon for people to be unable to locate any other internal organ (save the brain and maybe the larynx and stomach), most people know where their hearts are, and when their hearts hurt, they don't think maybe it's their lungs.
So frankly, I think we're all pretty aware of hearts. And I think turning your facebook red (or whatever it is my insurance is suggesting) is pretty pointless if all it's supposed to do is "support heart awareness".

So, so... what should you be aware of?
I dunno, honestly. I could give you statistics about who heart disease, but frankly I don't think it's useful to know how many people die of heart disease. I'll give you one statistic, but only 'cause it surprises people- more women than men die of heart disease (in 2009's CDC report, 397,874 American females vs 382,750 American males, out of a total of just under two and a half million deaths) . They just tend to die of it at older ages, is why it's more associated with men. But yeah, I have no idea how that statistic would help anybody.

So here's my challenge to you, my opinionated readers. Find me any data about hearts that is definitive, some data that actually means something. Raise my awareness. Leave me a comment and I'll make a post about it.

*I was five years old the first time I remember hearing the term "heart attack". As in, "Yitz just survived his third heart attack." I got a very confusing picture of what happened and I imagined that a heart attack was something along the lines of being attacked by a motorcycle gang- I was pretty sure about the motorcycles. It took years for me to stop associating heart attacks and motorcycles.

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