February Is Heart Disease Awareness Month

February is the National Month of Observance and Awareness for Heart Disease. Being the leading cause of death in the United States, killing a person every 34 seconds (1), it is imperative for each of us to educate ourselves on this very serious disease. What better time to do this than now?

I, for one, was diagnosed with heart disease when I was in my 20’s and I feel fortunate. One might ask how in the world I could feel fortunate that I have heart disease. Well, it’s not the fact that I have heart disease that I feel fortunate about. It’s the fact that I found out that I have it. You see, thousands of people every year die suddenly because they don’t know the ‘signs’ of an impending heart attack. In other words, they haven’t become educated on the matter. Being diagnosed motivated me to learn everything I possibly could about it. Not only was I able to begin appropriate treatment but I’m aware of danger signs to look for and what to do should they arise. To be in your 30’s and on Heart/Blood Pressure medication isn’t fun but it beats the alternative.

The important thing to remember here is that Awareness and Education could save your or a Loved One’s life and you don’t have to be diagnosed with heart disease to obtain that knowledge. Make February 2009, the time to educate yourself on heart disease. A good place to start is the American Heart Association website.

Of course, another key to ‘getting the word out’ about Heart Disease is raising and promoting Awareness. Awareness Gift Boutique has created some awesome designs that we will be releasing just in time for Heart Disease Awareness Month. We’ll be posting some of our new Heart Disease Awareness t-shirts, gifts, and apparel in the next day, or two, so be sure to check back for a Sneak Peak 🙂

 

REFERENCES: (1) Wikipedia

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  1. Cord Blood Stem Cells And Cardiovascular Disease
    20 Feb 2008

    Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Approximately one million people die of cardiovascular disease annually despite medical intervention, with coronary artery disease claiming 50 percent of those lives.(1) Although heart disease impacts an older population whose heart muscle, arteries and pumping function have deteriorated over time, heart ailments also strike the very young. According to the National Institutes of Health, congenital heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defect.(2)

    To date, there is no proven “off-the-shelf” therapy to repair or regenerate the heart after acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) or congestive heart failure. Because heart cells have a limited capacity to regenerate, researchers are exploring potential therapies using various stem cell sources to repair or replace damaged tissue including vascular endothelial cells, which form the inner lining of new blood vessels, and cardiomyocytes, the heart muscle cells that contract to pump blood into and out of the heart.(3)

    The stem cells found in a newborn’s umbilical cord blood are one type of stem cell holding great promise in cardiovascular repair. Stem cells from cord blood may have an advantage over those found in bone marrow or peripheral blood because they are immunologically “younger” and appear to be more versatile. They also demonstrate an important characteristic with embryonic stem cells: they are able to differentiate into nearly all cell types in the body. However, cord blood stem cells offer important advantages: 1)they do this in a safe and controlled manner; 2)they have been used in clinical practice to treat humans for more than 20 years; and 3)there is no controversy involved in their collection.

    Researchers are noting several positive observations in pre-clinical animal studies. Thus far, in animal models, cord blood stem cells have shown the ability to selectively migrate to injured cardiac tissue, improve vascular function and blood flow at the site of injury, and improve overall heart function.(1)

    Repairing Blood Vessels and Improving Ventricular Function

    The heart demands a large volume of blood flow in order to bring nutrients and oxygen to the muscle tissue after it has been damaged. Research demonstrates that cord blood stem cells are capable of giving rise to vascular endothelial-like cells, which are believed to aid in the repair of heart tissue damage due to myocardial infarction. Several pre-clinical studies of induced myocardial infarction in rats have shown that cord blood stem cells have the ability to:

    – Migrate and engraft to damaged heart muscle (4,5)
    – Contribute to the formation and proliferation of new blood vessels (4,6)
    – Improve left ventricular remodeling, structural damage and function (7)
    – Decrease the size of infarction (8)

    These animal studies may lay the foundation for future human clinical trials testing cord blood stem cell treatment for patients with heart damage due to myocardial infarction.

    Cardiomyocytes and Cord Blood: In Vitro Studies Show Promise

    Permanent loss of cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) and the formation of scar tissue following a heart attack result in irreversible damage to cardiac function……..
    Read the full article at –
    http://www.stemcells21.com/stem_cell_therapy_for_cardiovascular_heart_disease.asp


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