As the leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease is clearly no laughing matter — unless you’re a cardiologist and you’re in on the joke.
A group of cardiologists at Saint Luke’s Health System have put the giggles into Valentine’s Day with a series of memes promoting heart-healthy living that has caught national attention.
In one, cardiovascular and thorasic surgeon Keith Allen wears red, heart-shaped fun glasses next to the slogan: “Don’t bypass my love, valentine.”
In another, physician Sanjaya Gupta wears a fetching stethoscope and far-away gaze on his face with a flirtatious message: “Baby, you’re giving me AFib ’cause my heart’s aflutter when I look at you.”
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“We wanted to find a creative way to help patients see the light-hearted and caring nature of these expert physicians while also sharing the important message of heart disease prevention, and encouraging our community to take control of their heart health so they can avoid serious issues in the future,” Rebecca Sesler, vice president of marketing at Saint Luke’s Health System, told ABC News.
“Featuring such elite physicians to deliver these messages in a fun, creative way is inspiring people to share them with those they love. Just as we had hoped.”
Saint Luke’s 60 board-certified cardiologists have their hands full on holidays, non-holidays, every day of the year.
Last year they saw more than 68,000 patients in clinic, about 261 heart patients every day, according to Laurel Gifford, senior director of media relations for Saint Luke’s Health System.
Though heart disease kills more than 370,000 Americans every year —striking someone every 42 seconds - physicians preach that the disease is largely preventable.
The meme themes in the Saint Luke’s campaign promote the lifestyle changes and preventative steps research has shown can reduce the risk by 95 percent, Gifford said.
How to avoid heartache? Exercise, eat healthy non-processed foods, don’t smoke, drink in moderation, maintain a healthy body weight and avoid sitting for long periods of time.
Per doctors’ orders: Get up and move every 30 minutes.