Heart disease and February. What relationship could be more cozy?
From the scary risks of shoveling snow (yep, you could DIE, so be sure to lift a little at a time!), Mercedes-sponsored red dress parades and government-sponsored National Wear Red Day®, to tips for identifying heart attacks in women (men, you need a different month I guess), February has all the important stories to improve your "awareness."
Such a polite term, "awareness."
But I wonder, now that the internet is upon us and people are seeing their insurance rates and co-pays skyrocket if maybe we're shooting ourselves in the foot with all this heart month marketing hype. People are sick and tired of testing "just to be sure." It's starting to directly cost them a fortune, and people are pissed at having to pay a fortune for health care, let alone heart care.
I know, I know, I should be at the forefront of working with patients to stomp out heart disease. And goodness, people DO need to be attuned to diet, exercise, and weight loss. But the reality is, if we're giving you the ten latest tips on how to detect a heart attack, we're probably a bit too late.
That's the problem with all these press releases: while there's a need to raise "awareness" of heart health, there's also a very real need for people to take us, heart disease professionals, seriously to help cut costs in health care here. The last thing our health care system needs is more frivolous testing. Yet this is exactly what all this marketing does for our health care system: and it helps those with the largest PR budgets most of all.
Of course, there are researchers who depend on a portion of the funds raised to continue their work. After all, research is ridiculously expensive. There really is a need to raise funds for these scientists if we're going to continue our tradition of creative innovations in cardiovascular health care.
Maybe that should be the story line.
Maybe it would be nice to highlight these researchers' work and what that work hopes to bring to people rather than splashing a big feel-good red dress parade all over the media. Maybe we could focus on real life stories and less on the hyperbole. Maybe we could focus on the challenges, rather than the accolades and perfection.
Maybe then we'd have people take us seriously.