RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- February is American Heart Month dedicated to raising and spreading awareness of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about 90% of the more than 350,000 people who suffer cardiac arrests outside of a hospital die, and fewer than 50% of people who suffer cardiac arrest receive CPR from a bystander.
Researchers say if CPR is performed immediately, it could double or triple a cardiac-arrest victim's chance of survival.
AHA research also says Black Americans as well as Hispanics are less likely to receive CPR from a bystander. Women are also less likely to receive CPR partly because people fear accusations of inappropriate touching, sexual assault, or injuring the person.
During American Heart Month, The AHA is shedding light on the importance of knowing hands-only CPR with the theme Be The Beat. AHA advises people to use the pace of a familiar song to keep up the pace of 100-120 beats per minute.
The two steps of hands-only CPR are to call 911 and push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
Along with knowing CPR to help in an emergency, individuals can also take control of their own heart health as 87% of all heart issues are believed to be preventable.
"So much of what we can do is to control our modifiable risk factors," said Anne Miller, Executive Director of the American Heart Association Triangle Chapter. "So, stop smoking and know your numbers. Manage your blood pressure, that's a big way of reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke.
What we can do is to, you know, modify some of those behaviors that we can control, like stop smoking. Know your blood pressure, know your cholesterol numbers, and manage your weight," Miller added. "Look at your healthy diet, are you incorporating colors into your meals? Are you incorporating in fresh fruits and vegetables? Sleep is also, I think, an important risk factor that not enough Americans are getting enough of. And, so sleep is another important element to your overall cardiovascular health."
American Heart Month begins with a national movement on Friday with National Wear Red Day and Go Red For Women.
The AHA encourages people to wear red and take action to learn hands-on CPR.