February focuses on many different health observances — heart disease, age-related macular degeneration, prenatal infection prevention, cancer, children’s dental health, eating disorders, rare diseases, and more. However, any topics not addressed in this issue can be found by searching buffalohealthyliving.com.

February highlights also include Wear Red Day, Chinese New Year, Presidents Day, World Day of Social Justice, and Valentine’s Day. Interestingly, we are learning about a strong connection to heart disease and mental health.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA,) scientists are examining evidence that links daily stressors and traumatic incidents with heart disease. Additionally, social isolation and loneliness are associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. University of Rochester references several studies linking grief, depression, and job loss to heart attack and cardiac arrest, and identify behaviors that increase heart disease risk, such as smoking, overeating, drinking too much alcohol, and physical inactivity.

The good news is that mental health is becoming a priority in our community, as is disease prevention. We should also be proud of the ground-breaking strides in medicine taking place right in Western New York, including a blood test that can detect aneurysms, and a procedure now available that uses a minimally invasive device in patients with medication-resistant hypertension.

Stay warm, enjoy this issue, and have a happy, healthy, and hopeful February.