This month is American Heart Month.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the nation.
But, what is even more shocking is that West Virginia adults are at an even higher risk of mortality from the disease than the rest of the nation for heart disease and stroke, according to a report put out in 2007 by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. West Virginia's average exceeds the national average in all risk factors, including obesity, little to no physical activity, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes.
According to the CDC, more than one out of four deaths in the state are due to heart disease, and it is also the number one cause of death in women.
Raising awareness about such a fatal disease in our community can help prevent its a vengeance on West Virginians in the future.
The best way to impede the disease from occurring is taking preventative measures - such as eating healthier, stopping the smoking habit, exercising plenty and maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
However, it is also important to know the warning signs of coronary heart disease.
According to the CDC, one may experience chest discomfort or discomfort in other areas of the upper body - such as arms, back, neck or stomach - and shortness of breath. Other signs include sweating, nausea or feeling lightheaded.
The Eastern Panhandle, and especially Shepherdstown, is trying to become a community for healthier living. Let's be an example for the rest of West Virginia. We're not just another statistic. Let's live healthier, longer lives.