With midterms and finals in the daily college student’s life, the stress faced is a detrimental blow to the most vital organ of the human body, the heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America; it is estimated that one person dies of heart disease every 39 seconds, and that is why the American Heart Association (AHA) dedicates the entire month of February to raise awareness about heart health. The AHA funds their donations towards research, community, health care, and education, aiming to find cures for and ways to prevent heart illness and take preventative measures against it. Since 1949, the AHA has spent more than $3.3 billion on research to increase awareness and knowledge about cardiovascular diseases and stroke, reaching milestones such as assisting in the development of CPR and improving open heart surgery. Their advocacies are part of the reason why there are smoke-free public places, more walking and biking paths, and appropriate nutritional information on food labels. The accomplishments made by the AHA could not have been made without the funding from their dedicated supporters, but seeing as heart disease is still the leading cause of death, the support is needed more than ever.
So, what can you do? Luckily, being students at UC Irvine, the Orange County Division of the American Heart Association is located on campus, on the corner of California Avenue and Campus Drive. You can drop by, call 949-856-3555, or visit www.heart.org to find out about events near you such as the Orange Country Heart Walk, UC Irvine Alpha Phi’s Red Dress Gala, and Power to End Stroke, or about volunteer opportunities such as being a survivor speaker, Wear Red Day coordinator, Health Fair volunteer, Physician speaker, and many more.
Do yourself a heart favor too! Control your stress; studying for too long and staying up late to cram have long lasting effects on the heart. Take a break from your studies to find pleasure in something you enjoy. Snack healthy when you study and try to avoid midnight cravings. Get plenty of sleep and try walking or biking to class instead of relying on the shuttle. Make yourself a smoothie instead of toaster strudel and save In-n-Out trips for special occasions. Turn “I can’t” and “I don’t have time,” into “I can” and “I’ll make time,” because your heart could really use the favor.