Photo credit: Giuseppe Amoruso / EyeEm

(Photo by Giuseppe Amoruso / EyeEm)

President Donald Trump helped bring attention to the importance of heart health by declaring February as American Heart Month, kick-starting the annual awareness campaign for the nation’s No. 1 killer.

In a proclamation, Trump said that he and First Lady Melania Trump encourage all Americans to wear red on Friday to raise awareness about heart disease and the steps that can be taken to prevent it.

“Working together on National Wear Red Day, and throughout the year, we can raise awareness about heart disease and make our nation healthier,” said the proclamation issued Thursday.

Scientific research and evidence-based interventions to prevent or treat heart attacks and strokes have played an important part in making these strides, the proclamation reads. So have technology developments and the discovery of early markers of heart disease, which have led to earlier diagnosis and treatment.

“The death rate from heart disease in the United States has fallen dramatically since the 1960s, a significant public health victory. Despite this progress, heart disease remains a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and we must reduce its toll,” the proclamation reads. “During American Heart Month, we remember those who have lost their lives to heart disease and resolve to improve its prevention, detection and treatment.”

President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared the first American Heart Month in 1964.

Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death, with more than 17 million deaths each year. That number is expected to rise to more than 23.6 million by 2030.