February 2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of American Heart Month, which began in 1964. It’s a great time to think about those you love and raise awareness that heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

Heart disease kills nearly 380,000 Americans each year, while direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke total more than $315 billion, according to the American Heart Association. That includes health expenditures and lost productivity.

See our latest health infographic: Love Your Heart for more statistics and information. The good news is that recent efforts by the public and private sectors have put the spotlight on the negative impact of heart disease and stroke. Two national initiatives that play a vital role in fighting heart disease are MillionHearts® and Go Red for Women®.

Over the past 10 years for which statistics are available, the death rate from heart disease has fallen about 39 percent. With increased awareness and prevention, greater progress can be achieved and more lives saved.

So this February, help get the word out about American Heart Month. Friday, February 7 is National Wear Red Day®.

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