Famously known as the ‘month of love’, February is certainly a time to pay attention to your heart.

Heart Research Australia (HRA) agrees.

Sadly, heart disease remains the world’s leading cause of death, with AIHW statistics showing coronary heart disease is the leading underlying cause of death for both men and women in Australia.

By participating in HRA’s Heart Research Month – REDFEB – you will be helping to reduce these appalling statistics and prevent others from experiencing the trauma of losing a loved one through heart disease.

For the whole month, Australians are encouraged to make heart health their priority by proactively participating in the fight against heart disease.

Friday, February 6 marks National Wear Red Day, in which HRA invites all Aussies to don their favourite red outfit, at work or at school, and make a small gold coin donation to fund life-saving research and help combat heart disease.

Research, only made possible by donations from supporters, has already had positive results. One research project enabled life-saving technology and procedures to be put in place that reduce heart attack deaths at Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, from 30 per cent to 2 per cent. A staggering progression, given around 55,000 Australians have a heart attack every year, equating to one every 10 minutes.

Despite these steps forward, cardiovascular disease, which includes heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases, is responsible for near 44,000 deaths in Australia alone (2012), killing one Australian every minute.

Opportunities to participate in the campaign and make your contribution include lapping the map of Australia through the virtual REDFEB relay with your choice of exercise, or giving up something unhealthy for the REDFEB challenge.

For tips on healthy living, including recipes, risk factors and a ‘heart health IQ’ quiz, head to: http://www.heartresearch.com.au/healthy-living/