Hearts a Bluhm
Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and Columbia College Chicago Team Up to Generate Heart Health Awareness During National Heart Month
February is traditionally a dreary month in Chicago – but that’s going to change on February 1, 2011. To celebrate National Heart Month, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile will literally be “blooming” with the launch of a colorful display of 100 one-of-a-kind 5-foot heart sculptures on display throughout the month long as part of “Hearts a Bluhm,” a city-wide cardiovascular awareness campaign from Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
“Hearts a Bluhm” was created to educate the public and start a dialogue about heart disease, the leading cause of death in America. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is responsible for one in every 2.9 deaths in the United States, meaning that nearly 2,300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of 1 death every 23 seconds. In Illinois alone, heart disease is responsible for nearly 34% of all deaths in the state each year according to the Greater Illinois American Heart Association.
“As one of the country’s leading heart centers, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is proud to be using this exhibit to generate much-needed awareness about cardiovascular disease and its prevention,” says Patrick M. McCarthy, MD, chief of Cardiac Surgery at Northwestern Memorial, director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and Heller-Sacks Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “ ‘Hearts a Bluhm’ is a reminder to the public that heart disease is preventable and our goal is to inspire individuals to live a healthy lifestyle each and every day to limit their risks to the disease.”
This highly anticipated public art exhibit of creatively adorned hearts, accompanied by heart health facts and tips, will “bloom” down North Michigan Avenue in public sidewalk planters and thoroughfares. Chicago residents and visitors are encouraged to get active and walk the exhibit to learn more about heart health.
Since December, students, faculty, staff and alumni of Columbia College Chicago, the campaign’s artistic partner, as well as sponsoring company artists have been hard at work at the “Hearts a Bluhm” Art Studio at The Shops at North Bridge designing, painting and embellishing their hearts. In addition, special Chicago “team hearts” representing the Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs will be on display for consumers to enjoy.
Chicago’s support of heart disease prevention will rise above street level with a number of the city’s iconic buildings displaying red lights throughout the month of February. The Willis Tower, Wrigley Building, and the Hancock Observatory among others will illuminate the Chicago skyline in red in honor of National Heart Month.
Although heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, it is also one of the most preventable diseases. The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offers the following 10 tips for maintaining a healthy heart all year round:
1. Avoid smoking or using other tobacco products, as they are the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease.
2. Watch your waistline! A body mass index (BMI) of 25 and higher increases your risk of heart disease.
3. High blood pressure affects 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. Optimal blood pressure is < 120/80. Know your numbers!
4. 80% of people who had a heart attack have high cholesterol. Optimal cholesterol is < 200. Know your numbers!
5. Physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes per day most days) is important for heart health.
6. Experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, including chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and jaw pain? Call 911!
7. Nearly 2300 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day - 1 death every 23 seconds. Take steps to be healthy!
8. Eat a heart healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish, and low in sodium and simple sugars.
9. Heart attack prevention – as easy as ABC. Avoid tobacco, Become more active and Choose good nutrition.
10. In men, the risk for coronary artery disease increases after age 45. In women, after the age of 55.
Proceeds from the sale of the hearts will benefit cardiovascular programs at Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, as well as art scholarships at Columbia College Chicago.
Kris Lathan, Director
Northwestern Memorial Hospital