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Sculptures amaze me. Before there were 3-D movies, people created 3-D images with clay, wood, stone and whatever other materials were at hand. Sometimes these images are realistic and sometimes they are fanciful. Similarly, matters of the heart can be as real as a heart attack and as fanciful as love. It seems fitting that my first post about the leading cause of death in the U.S. also features on one of our longest lasting art forms: sculptures.

An online search of heart disease and sculptures revealed three interesting (at least to me) trends.

First, “heart disease” may not be the best search term to find information about this topic. Heart disease includes many conditions and terms, such as cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias and congenital heart defects, that do not always appear under such a general term.

Second, as you might guess, there are PLENTY of sculptures that have to do with the heart…and luuuuuuvvvv. Not quite so many depict or reference cardiovascular diseases, specifically.

Third, some of the search results were articles about sculptors who died of heart disease or who dedicated their work to a family member affected by this disease. Given that in the U.S. more than 26 million people have been diagnosed with heart disease and that this disease kills about 590,000 people each year (according the National center for Health Statistics), this is not surprising.

In addition to diseases of the heart being a leading cause of death in the U.S. and around the world, it is a major public health concern because in many cases it can be prevented or treated with health lifestyle choices. This combination also explains why we see so many health promotion campaigns related to heart health.

World Heart Day is one global example.

World Heart Day takes place on 29 September each year (since 2000):
Together with its members, the World Heart Federation spreads the news that at least 80% of premature deaths from heart disease and stroke could be avoided if the main risk factors, tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, are controlled.

Here are some interesting examples of sculptures tied to cardiovascular disease and  health. What a great way to draw attention and inspiration.

From daijiworld.com, a portal linking the West Coast of India and the World.
Udupi: Manipal Sand Artistes Create Awareness on Heart Disease

credit: Hemanth Padubidri via daijiworld.com

credit: Hemanth Padubidri via daijiworld.com

From Jacqueline Lamiette-Nelson, Visual Art and Art Teacher Blog
Sculpture,” inspired by losing her brother and dad within six months because of enlarged hearts

credit: Jacqueline Lamiette-Nelson

credit: Jacqueline Lamiette-Nelson

From blog.heart.org
An artist at heart, man donates wooden sculpture to American Heart Association

credit: blog.heart.org

credit: blog.heart.org

From Las Vegas Review-Journal
Passers-by gape as 600-pound heart sculpture goes down Strip

credit: Jeff Scheid/”Las Vegas Review Journal”

To get involved with efforts to prevent heart disease, you can start with these organizations…just a few among many at the local, state and national levels:

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