History of Valentine’s Day (4 min) TV-G
Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th
and where do the holiday customs come from?
Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.
THE LEGEND OF ST. VALENTINE
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
Did You Know?
Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
ORIGINS OF VALENTINE’S DAY: A PAGAN FESTIVAL IN FEBRUARY
While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. They would then strip the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.
VALENTINE’S DAY: A DAY OF ROMANCE
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”–at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
TYPICAL VALENTINE’S DAY GREETINGS
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine
FEBRUARY 14, 2013 By Elizabeth Hanes
A man named Valentinus was martyred on February 14 late in the third century A.D.—this much we know. But when it comes to details about the life of St. Valentine, legend often supersedes fact. As you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, find out the truth about the man for whom the day is named, as well as some other intriguing facts about history’s most romantic holiday.
1. The St. Valentine who inspired the holiday may have been two different men.
Officially recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, St. Valentine is known to be a real person who died around A.D. 270. However, his true identity was questioned as early as A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who referred to the martyr and his acts as “being known only to God.” One account from the 1400s describes Valentine as a temple priest who was beheaded near Rome by the emperor Claudius II for helping Christian couples wed. A different account claims Valentine was the Bishop of Terni, also martyred by Claudius II on the outskirts of Rome. Because of the similarities of these accounts, it’s thought they may refer to the same person. Enough confusion surrounds the true identity of St. Valentine that the Catholic Church discontinued liturgical veneration of him in 1969, though his name remains on its list of officially recognized saints.
2. In all, there are about a dozen St. Valentines, plus a pope.
The saint we celebrate on Valentine’s Day is known officially as St. Valentine of Rome in order to differentiate him from the dozen or so other Valentines on the list. Because “Valentinus”—from the Latin word for worthy, strong or powerful—was a popular moniker between the second and eighth centuries A.D., several martyrs over the centuries have carried this name. The official Roman Catholic roster of saints shows about a dozen who were named Valentine or some variation thereof. The most recently beatified Valentine is St. Valentine Berrio-Ochoa, a Spaniard of the Dominican order who traveled to Vietnam, where he served as bishop until his beheading in 1861. Pope John Paul II canonized Berrio-Ochoa in 1988. There was even a Pope Valentine, though little is known about him except that he served a mere 40 days around A.D. 827.
3. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers and epilepsy, among many other things.
Saints are certainly expected to keep busy in the afterlife. Their holy duties include interceding in earthly affairs and entertaining petitions from living souls. In this respect, St. Valentine has wide-ranging spiritual responsibilities. People call on him to watch over the lives of lovers, of course, but also for interventions regarding beekeeping and epilepsy, as well as the plague, fainting and traveling. As you might expect, he’s also the patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages.
4. You can find Valentine’s skull in Rome.
The flower-adorned skull of St. Valentine is on display in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. In the early 1800s, the excavation of a catacomb near Rome yielded skeletal remains and other relics now associated with St. Valentine. As is customary, these bits and pieces of the late saint’s body have subsequently been distributed to reliquaries around the world. You’ll find other bits of St. Valentine’s skeleton on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.
5. Chaucer may have invented Valentine’s Day.
The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.
6. You can celebrate Valentine’s Day several times a year.
Because of the abundance of St. Valentines on the Roman Catholic roster, you can choose to celebrate the saint multiple times each year. Besides February 14, you might decide to celebrate St. Valentine of Viterbo on November 3. Or maybe you want to get a jump on the traditional Valentine celebration by feting St. Valentine of Raetia on January 7. Women might choose to honor the only female St. Valentine (Valentina), a virgin martyred in Palestine on July 25, A.D. 308. The Eastern Orthodox Church officially celebrates St. Valentine twice, once as an elder of the church on July 6 and once as a martyr on July 30.
George Washington’s Precedents
(4 min) TV-PG
Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.
PRESIDENTS’ DAY: ORIGIN AS WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY
The story of Presidents’ Day date begins in 1800. Following President George Washington’s death in 1799, his February 22 birthday became a perennial day of remembrance. At the time, Washington was venerated as the most important figure in American history, and events like the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were cause for national celebration.
Did You Know?
President’s Day never falls on the actual birthday of any American president. Four chief executives—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan_were born in February, but their birthdays all come either too early or late to coincide with Presidents’ Day, which is always celebrated on the third Monday of the month.
While Washington’s Birthday was an unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Senator Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first to propose the measure, and in 1879 President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. The holiday initially only applied to the District of Columbia, but in 1885 it was expanded to the whole country. At the time, Washington’s Birthday joined four other nationally recognized federal bank holidays—Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving—and was the first to celebrate the life of an individual American. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law in 1983, would be the second.
PRESIDENTS’ DAY: THE UNIFORM MONDAY HOLIDAY ACT
The shift from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day began in the late 1960s when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Championed by Senator Robert McClory of Illinois, this law sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism. While some argued that shifting holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meaning, the bill also had widespread support from both the private sector and labor unions and was seen as a surefire way to bolster retail sales.
The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on the proximate date of February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in places like Illinois, and many supported joining the two days as a way of giving equal recognition to two of America’s most famous statesmen.
McClory was among the measure’s major proponents, and he even floated the idea of renaming the holiday “President’s Day.” This proved to be a point of contention for lawmakers from George Washington’s home state of Virginia, and the proposal was eventually dropped. Nevertheless, the main piece of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed in 1968 and officially took effect in 1971 following an executive order from President Richard Nixon. Washington’s Birthday was then shifted from the fixed date of February 22 to the third Monday of February. Columbus Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day were also moved from their traditionally designated dates. (As a result of widespread criticism, in 1980 Veterans’ Day was returned to its original November 11 date.)
the Emancipation Proclamation
(3 min) TV-PG
The Emancipation Proclamation refocuses
the purpose of the Civil War to address the issue of slavery
PRESIDENTS’ DAY: TRANSFORMATION
While Nixon’s order plainly called the newly placed holiday Washington’s Birthday, it was not long before the shift to Presidents’ Day began. The move away from February 22 led many to believe that the new date was intended to honor both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as it now fell between their two birthdays. Marketers soon jumped at the opportunity to play up the three-day weekend with sales, and “Presidents’ Day” bargains were advertised at stores around the country.
By the mid-1980s Washington’s Birthday was known to many Americans as Presidents’ Day. This shift had solidified in the early 2000s, by which time as many as half the 50 states had changed the holiday’s name to Presidents’ Day on their calendars. Some states have even chosen to customize the holiday by adding new figures to the celebration. Arkansas, for instance, celebrates Washington as well as civil rights activist Daisy Gatson Bates. Alabama, meanwhile, uses Presidents’ Day to commemorate Washington and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April).
Washington and Lincoln still remain the two most recognized leaders, but Presidents’ Day is now popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all of America’s chief executives. Some lawmakers have objected to this view, arguing that grouping George Washington and Abraham Lincoln together with less successful presidents minimizes their legacies. Congressional measures to restore Washington and Lincoln’s individual birthdays were proposed during the early 2000s, but all failed to gain much attention. For its part, the federal government has held fast to the original incarnation of the holiday as a celebration of the country’s first president. The third Monday in February is still listed on official calendars as Washington’s Birthday.
PRESIDENTS’ DAY: CELEBRATIONS AND TRADITIONS
Like Independence Day, Presidents’ Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance. In its original incarnation as Washington’s Birthday, the holiday gained special meaning during the difficulties of the Great Depression, when portraits of George Washington often graced the front pages of newspapers and magazines every February 22. In 1932 the date was used to reinstate the Purple Heart, a military decoration originally created by George Washington to honor soldiers killed or wounded while serving in the armed forces. Patriotic groups and the Boy Scouts of America also held celebrations on the day, and in 1938 some 5,000 people attended mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in honor of Washington.
In its modern form, Presidents’ Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. A number of states also require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents’ Day teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with a focus on the lives of Washington and Lincoln.
PRESIDENT FUN FACT…
Origins of Black History Month
A brief look at the history of African Americans and Black History Month.
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
ORIGINS OF BLACK HISTORY MONTH
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
Did You Know?
The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909, the centennial anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln.
In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the Civil Rights Movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Since then, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The 2013 theme, At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, marks the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two pivotal events in African-American history.
(3 min) TV-PG
Find out how Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery
to become one of the most respected and effective abolitionist leaders.
February is Heart Month
Make Blood Pressure Control Your Goal
This American Heart Month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Million Hearts®–a national effort to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the United States by 2017–are encouraging Americans to know their blood pressure, and if it’s high, to make control their goal.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure[469 KB] is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. In fact, more than 67 million Americans have high blood pressure.1 People with high blood pressure are 4 times more likely to die from a stroke and 3 times more likely to die from heart disease, compared to those with normal blood pressure.2
High blood pressure often shows no signs or symptoms, which is why having your blood pressure checked regularly is important. It’s easy to get your blood pressure checked. You can get screened at your doctor’s office and drugstores or even check it yourself at home, using a home blood pressure monitor.
Doctor taking man’s blood pressure
Work with your health care team to make sure you meet your blood pressure goal.
Make Control Your Goal
If you know you have high blood pressure, take these steps to help get it under control:
*Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be. Set a goal to lower your pressure with your doctor and talk about how you can reach your goal. Work with your health care team to make sure you meet that goal. Track your blood pressure over time. One way to do that is with this free wallet card[920 KB] from Million Hearts®.
*Take your blood pressure medicine as directed. Set a timer on your phone to remember to take your medicine at the same time each day. If you are having trouble taking your medicines on time or paying for your medicines, or if you are having side effects, ask your doctor for help.
*Quit smoking—and if you don’t smoke, don’t start. You can find tips and resources at CDC’s Smoking and Tobacco website.
*Reduce sodium intake. Most Americans consume too much sodium, which can raise blood pressure. Read about ways to reduce your sodium and visit the Million Hearts® Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Resource Center for heart-healthy, lower-sodium recipes, meal plans, and helpful articles.
African American Men: Take Note
While heart disease doesn’t discriminate, your gender, race, ethnicity, and where you live can increase your risk. African American men are at the highest risk for heart disease. About 2 in 5 African Americans have high blood pressure, but only half have it under control.3 A recent article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine also showed that Americans aged 30 to 74 who live the Southeast—specifically, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia—are at higher risk of developing heart disease over the next 10 years than people who live in other parts of the country.4 Many of these states have a large African American population.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
Heart Disease is the Number One Cause of Death
About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of disability. The most common heart disease in the United States is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. In 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.1
The chance of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by taking steps to prevent and control factors that put people at greater risk. Additionally, knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack are crucial to the most positive outcomes after having a heart attack. People who have survived a heart attack can also work to reduce their risk of another heart attack or a stroke in the future. For more information on heart disease and stroke, visit CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.
Diseases and Conditions That Put Your Heart at Risk
Other conditions that affect your heart or increase your risk of death or disability include arrhythmia, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease (PAD). High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and secondhand smoke are also risk factors associated with heart disease. For a full list of diseases and conditions along with risk factors and other health information associated with heart disease, visit theAmerican Heart Association.
Know Your Signs and Symptoms
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense; however, most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
The American Heart Association, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the American Red Cross, and the National Council on Aging have launched a new “Act in Time” campaign to increase people’s awareness of heart attack and the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately at the onset of heart attack symptoms. Find the links here.
Secondhand Smoke Exposure
and Cardiovascular Effects
A report by The Institute of Medicine finds even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a heart attack. Tobacco smoke can cause health problems not only for smokers, but also for people around them. Breathing secondhand smoke increases a person’s risk for a heart attack and other heart conditions.2
Visit the CDC Office on Smoking and Health Web site for more detailed information about the IOM Report on Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects include the following:
- Analysis of the report findings.
- Animation of how secondhand smoke affects the cardiovascular system.
- CDC statement on report findings.
Healthy Lifestyle: Diet and Nutrition,
Exercise and Fitness
A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight heart disease. Many people make it harder than it is. It is important to remember that it is the overall pattern of the choices you make that counts. As you make daily food choices, read nutrition labels and base your eating pattern on these recommendations:
- Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat.
- Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products.
- Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet.
- Cut back on foods high in dietary cholesterol. Aim to eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day.
- Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
- Select and purchase foods lower in salt/sodium.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That means no more than one drink per day if you’re a woman and two drinks per day if you’re a man.
- Keep an eye on your portion sizes.
See CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Web site for more tips on nutrition.
Physical activity in your daily life is an important step to preventing heart disease. You can take a few simple steps at home, at work, and at play to increase the amount of physical activity in your life. See CDC’s physical activity Web site for tips and more information.
Women and Heart Disease: Quick Facts
Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” it is the leading cause of death for both women and men in the United States, and women account for nearly 50% of heart disease deaths.
In 2007, heart disease was the cause of death in 306,246 females.3
Heart disease is often perceived as an “older woman’s disease,” and it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older. However, heart disease is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25–44 years and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45–64 years. Remember that many cases of heart disease can be prevented! 4
For more information and facts on women and heart disease, see the Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet.
CDC’s WISEWOMAN Program
The mission of CDC’s WISEWOMAN program is to provide low-income, under- or uninsured 40- to 64-year-old women with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors to prevent or delay cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.
WISEWOMAN provides these additional services:
- Screening for chronic disease risk factors.
- Dietary, physical activity, and smoking cessation interventions.
- Referral and follow-up as appropriate.
For more information on how you can take advantage of these services, visit WISEWOMAN and click on program locations.
Women and Heart Disease Campaigns
Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s nationwide movement that celebrates the energy, passion, and power women have to band together and wipe out heart disease. Thanks to the participation of millions of people across the country, the color red and the red dress have become linked with the ability all women have to improve their heart health and live stronger, longer lives.
The Heart Truth Campaign is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease. The campaign created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002 to deliver an urgent wakeup call to American women. The Red Dress alerts women of The Heart Truth message: “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You WearIt is the #1 Killer of Women.”
National Wear Red Day is a day when Americans nationwide will wear red to show their support for women’s heart disease awareness. This observance promotes the Red Dress symbol and provides an opportunity for everyone to unite in this life-saving awareness movement by showing off a favorite red dress, shirt, or tie, or Red Dress Pin.
Participate in National Wear Red Day—Everyone (men too) can support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red. See CDC’s Office of Women’s Health, Wear It Well: Women and Heart Disease Prevention.
Men and Heart Disease: Quick Facts
- In 2007, heart disease was the cause of death in 309,821 American men.3
- The average age for a first heart attack for men is 66 years.1
- Almost half of men who have a heart attack under age 65 die within 8 years.1
- Between 70% and 89% of sudden cardiac events occur in men.1
For more information and facts about men and heart disease, visit the Men and Heart Disease Fact Sheet.
Interactive Tools to Help Guide Your Everyday Choices
- Know your heart numbers. Find out what you can do to improve and maintain these numbers—and live a longer, stronger life.
- Learn and Live Quiz. Take our quiz to learn your risk for heart disease. Register after the quiz and we’ll send you a free cookbook.
- Where’s the Salt?. Take the salt intake quiz to discover how much is in your food and its effect on your health.
- Interactive Menu Planner
- CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- WISEWOMAN: Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation
- Genomics and Heart
- Congenital Heart Defects
- Mortality Resulting From Congenital Heart Disease
- American Heart Association
- American Stroke Association
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
- Send a Heart Healthy e-Card
- Become an advocate for health by posting a button or badge to your Web site, blog, or social networking profile.
National Dental Health Month!
- Aging and Geriatrics
- Dentists: Doctors of Oral Health
- National Children’s Dental Health Month
- Oral Health Topics
- Dental Care Away from Home
- Dental Emergencies
- Medicaid & Medicare
National Children’s Dental Health Month
Each February, the American Dental Association (ADA) sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. NCDHM messages and materials have reached millions of people in communities across the country.
Developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Whether you’re a member of the dental team, a teacher or a parent, the ADA has free online resources that can help you with oral health presentations, ideas for the classroom and coloring and activity sheets that can be used as handouts. We also have booklets, videos and other materials available for purchase through our ADA Catalog.
February is National Pet Dental Health Month
Don’t turn your nose to Fido’s or Fluffy’s bad breath! That odor might signify a serious health risk, with the potential to damage not only your pet’s teeth and gums but its internal organs as well.
To address the significance of oral health care for pets, the AVMA and several veterinary groups are sponsoring National Pet Dental Health Month in February.
Click on the links below to learn more about National Pet Dental Health Month, and how you can improve the dental (and overall) health of your pets.
[stream flv= em
Dr. Sheldon Rubin gives easy, step-by-step instructions on how to teach a dog or cat to accept a daily tooth brushing. He also describes healthy treats, and explains the true risks of periodontal disease in pets.
WE HOPE YOU HAVE
A WONDERFUL FEBRUARY!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Wishes all of you a
HAPPY AND HEALTHY New Year!
…try to keep those Resolutions within reach…
Keep it Simple…See your glass as half full rather than half empty…
Have an attitude of gratitude…even with yourself!…
Don’t sweat the small stuff…and try to let go and let God…
You choose your friends not your family…
Remember…to have a friend …you have to be a friend…in good times and bad!
And even though family can be trying at times…
they are family…just try to control the expectations…
To make your New Year a Happy one…try to bring some Joy into your life!
We all want Peace in the World…
but maybe we have to work on having it begin within ourselves first…
As for a Healthy New Year…Our bodies are our temples…
Maybe if we think of taking care of our bodies
like we take care of our homes, our cars…
and the many other superficial things we agonize over…
well who knows what might happen???
And remember …mental health is as important as physical health…
Try to allow yourself some time free of stress or anxiety…
Take a quiet walk…or try meditation.
It’s a New Year, each day within it brings a New opportunity for a fresh New start…
Make the Most of that blessing!
Bet You Didn’t Know:
New Year’s Eve
Did you know that New Year’s has not always
been celebrated on January 1?
New Year’s History and Traditions
By Carol Bainbridge,
The Beginning of Celebrating the New Year:
The Acceptance of the New Year’s Celebration:
New Year’s Resolutions:
Although the day designated as the day the new year begins may differ from culture to culture, it is a time the world over for celebrating. There are so many different customs that it is impossible to list them all, but here are some of them:
Small pieces of lead are melted in a spoon over a lit candle. The melted lead is dropped into cold water. It hardens into shapes, which predict the future. A heart or ring shape, for example, means a wedding.
A gold or silver coin is baked into a cake. The person who has the piece of cake with the coin inside will be lucky for the rest of the year.
Before the holiday, houses must be cleaned, inside and out. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, a monk at a local shrine strikes a gong to signify the forgiving of the past year’s mistakes.
To purge the old year and welcome in the new one, the Dutch make bonfires in the street out of their Christmas trees.
Firstfooting-people visit neighbors just after midnight to wish them well for the new year. It is considered good luck if the first person to step foot into your house is a tall, dark and handsome man!
Eating twelve grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve will bring twelve months of happiness.
With the coming of a fresh year people always strive hard to have a good beginning. Every year most of us make unique and new resolutions. We plan it well and stay determined to fulfill those resolutions. But somehow only a few have the relentlessness to keep up their resolutions.
With the coming of 2012, many people made various resolutions. Some of them might have succeeded and others couldn’t because of the simple reason that they did not try hard enough to fulfill them. No matter how successful you were in 2010, the new year, 2011 will be your year to have a new beginning and start with a fresh zeal. If you haven’t made your list of resolutions yet, here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2012 to see if they can be applied to your life.
1. Lose Weight
This is probably one of the resolutions which are common to many people who always dream of having a beautiful and lean body. Was this one of your resolutions from past year? If so, be encouraged this year to follow it until you see positive results. Make a plan of what you will give up (late night snacks, that extra meal) in exchange for a lean body. You only have to make this shift once in your lifetime to get lasting results.
2. Getting Organized
Punctuality and organization is very crucial in a man’s life. People should always organize things accordingly and never delay any work what so ever. Work planning is very important both in office and also in home. The 2012 resolution must also include being organized and well planned. This will not only help in becoming a disciplined person but can also help in earning appreciation. In life problems are inevitable but handling these problems in planned and organized way is the main thing. Therefore a person’s resolution must include being disciplined. Simple things such as making a daily goal list before you start the day can go a long way.
3. Spend Less, Save More
How did you do financially in 2010? Many people spend money on unnecessary things without any justification. Money is an important thing in life and should be spent very carefully no matter how rich a person may be. Here’s a simple rule for you to follow in 2012. Before you buy something, always spend some time justifying the reason. You should spend the same amount of time it took you to earn that money on reasoning before you buy. If you do this, you will be able to cut most of the impulse purchases and you will be drawn to a better deal elsewhere.
4. Enjoy life to the Fullest
Life comes once and should be enjoyed as much as possible in the right way. Staying alone and isolated, and staying morose does not help. It is an individual’s duty to motivate oneself more and more so that they can reach the goal that they intend for. As the years are passing by, you are moving closer to the end of life. This should be seen as a positive aspect in life, because it encourages you to enjoy what you have in your life right now. Therefore make a resolution to find a reason everyday to enjoy life, enjoy everything that you do and enjoy every little moment in life, and then the life becomes worth living.
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
There are many people who lead a much undisciplined life and do not take care of their health. Staying physically and mentally fit should be another important resolution which can change your life positively and effectively. Regular exercise for half an hour everyday can help a lot in keeping mental peace.
6. Learn Something Exciting
Time waits for none and it should never be wasted. There are so many things that a person might engage himself or herself into apart from what they do. Where do you waste most of your time everyday? Do you spend idle time during waiting for the bus or train? Carry a book or an audio book on your career or profession every time you travel. Can you cut down on the time you spend watching TV, and learn a new skill? You’re never too young or old to learn a new skill. Therefore, make a resolution to upgrade your skills.
7. Quit Smoking
Smoking is injurious to health and it is known to all. Many people cannot give up smoking even after trying a lot. If you’re still addicted, your 2011 resolution should be to quit smoking. It will not only help you, but it will help everyone else whom you see everyday.
8. Helping Others in Their Dreams
Everybody thinks about oneself but there are few people who care for others. A great resolution is to help others. It always feels very nice to know that our actions can make other people smile and this is something to be proud about. You don’t need to be rich to help others. You can help others in 2011 with your time and skills. The more you help others, later you will also receive favors from other people because of the law of reciprocity.
9. Fall in Love
Love is a wonderful feeling, a feeling that comes from within. Are you in a relationship and is it the time to get engaged?, or is it the time to find someone in your life to share your experiences with? It’s never too late to fall in love.
10. Spend More Time with Family
Your 2012 resolutions should include loving family members. Every family member is dependent on each other and so spending time with family is very essential. An individual stays with its family for most of the time and should devote as much time as possible. Something that most successful businessmen and women regret is not spending enough time with their families when they could’ve. Spending time with the family gives a person a chance to know each other, share feelings with each other, share joy and sorrow. This is indeed an important resolution that will give you fulfillment in life.
These were some of the top 10 chosen resolution for year 2012. Some of them may be applicable for your and some may not. However, 2012 is a new beginning in your life. Create your own list of resolutions and make a quantum leap in your life this new year!
WHAT IS YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTION?
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the world’s leading professional association of medical specialists dedicated to education and research to improve thyroid disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment; improving thyroid patient care; and educating the public about thyroid health and diseases.
Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease
More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
Most thyroid cancers respond to treatment, although a small percentage can be very aggressive.
The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.
Pregnant women with undiagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and severe developmental problems in their children.
Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with medical attention.
Facts about the Thyroid Gland and Thyroid Disease
The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland that regulates the body’s metabolism—the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen—and affects critical body functions, such as energy level and heart rate.
The thyroid gland is located in the middle of the lower neck.
Although the thyroid gland is relatively small, it produces a hormone that influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, and some weight gain.
Hyperthyroidism, another form of thyroid disease, is a condition causing the gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, sleep disturbances, vision problems and eye irritation.
Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism; it is an autoimmune disorder that is genetic and estimated to affect one percent of the population.
Research Advancements in Thyroid Disease
Research funded by the American Thyroid Association over the past 40 years has accomplished:
-Mandatory screening of newborns for congenital hypothyroidism, and early treatment that has prevented mental retardation.
-Cost-effective methods to detect thyroid cancer by screening the 250,000 thyroid nodules developed in Americans each year.
-Groundbreaking work in brain development and thyroid hormone function.
Promising Graves’ disease genetic research that may lead to improved prognosis and new preventive treatments.
-An experimental drug that may prove useful for treatment and prevention of eye problems associated with Graves’ disease.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
As we embark on the beginning of a brand new year, let us always remember that one’s health is central to our being here on earth. As my grandparents always said, “without good health we have nothing”. That sounds harsh, but in many ways true.
Every month we have been discussing about a particular cancer that is represented by that month. It’s becoming clearer that cancer is everywhere and is a part of our lives as human beings. What my Italian ancestors used to call the “brutta“disease and was rarely talked about is now still a disease but its fear has lessened. We owe this to talented, intelligent doctors, scientists and activists who have spent their lives finding ways to prevent cure and control cancer. All we have to do is become knowledgeable, listen and take care of our bodies and pray that our heath care providers are listening too.
January is deemed cervical cancer awareness month. Cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death in American women. The number of women developing the disease and dying from it has greatly decreased thanks to the Pap smear test. Cervical cancer is typically a slow growing cancer that may not have symptoms, but can be detected by having regular Pap smear tests. This test detects subtle changes in the cells that may lead to cancer development.
Cervical cancer is typically caused by the HPV (Human Papillomavirus). HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and affects both females and males.
Gardasil or the HPV vaccine is become available to teenage girls and is effective in preventing HPV infections, therefore is effective in preventing cervical cancer. Now the vaccine is approved for boys as well.
When my teenage daughter’s pediatrician asked if I wanted my daughter to have the vaccine I had many questions. I felt as though I would be expecting her to be sexually active. The pediatrician assured me that if the fear of AIDS hasn’t detoured teens from having sex that giving this vaccine wouldn’t encourage it. He also pointed out that we don’t know if other forms of foreplay, such as “petting” may also spread the HPV virus. That made sense to me so she got vaccinated. Everyone needs to do their own research and ask questions of their health care providers before making their decision.
According to the American Cancer Society risk factors for cervical cancer are the HPV infection, smoking, HIV infection, dietary factors, hormone contraception, multiple pregnancies, exposure to DES and family history of cervical cancer. There is possible genetic risk associated with HLA-B*07 gene. Like all cancers early detection is the key. So be proactive!!
A Letter From one of our MANY VISITORS!…Thanks!
What Are Cervical Cancer Symptoms?
Untreated Cervical Cancer,
What Are The Long-Term Risk Factors?
Can Women Survive
A Cervical Cancer Diagnosis?
Human Trafficking/Involuntary Servitude
Human trafficking, believed to be the third-largest criminal activity in the world, is a form of human slavery which must be addressed at the interagency level. Human trafficking includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. It involves both U.S. citizens and foreigners alike, and has no demographic restrictions. The FBI works human trafficking cases under both its Civil Rights program and its Violent Crimes Against Children program. The majority of human trafficking victims in our cases are U.S. citizens, and we take a victim-centered approach in investigating such cases, which means that ensuring the needs of the victims take precedence over all other considerations.
Here in this country, people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves, often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. Over the past decade, human trafficking has been identified as a heinous crime which exploits the most vulnerable in society. Among the Civil Rights Unit’s priorities is its human trafficking program, based on the passage of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provided that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.”
Under the human trafficking program, the Bureau investigates matters where a person was induced to engage in commercial sex acts through force, fraud, or coercion, or to perform any labor or service through force, coercion, or threat of law or legal process.
Typically, human trafficking cases fall under the following investigative areas:
Domestic Sex Trafficking of Adults: When persons are compelled to engage in commercial sex acts through means of force, fraud, and/or coercion.
Sex Trafficking of International Adults and Children: When foreign nationals, both adult and juveniles, are compelled to engage in commercial sex acts with a nexus to the United States through force, fraud, and/or coercion. (Note: Matters of domestic juvenile sex trafficking are handled by the FBI’s Violent Crimes against Children Section.”
Forced Labor: When persons, domestic or foreign nationals, are compelled to work in some service or industry through force or coercion.
Domestic Servitude: When persons, domestic or foreign nationals, are compelled to engage in domestic work for families or households, through means of force or coercion.