According to the American Heart Association, heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in Georgia and the #1 killer of women. South Georgia Medical Center seeks to change this by raising awareness of heart disease with educational and screening events throughout the month of February, National Heart Health Month.To kick-off the month, women are invited to attend one of SGMC’s Wear Red events which feature a complementary heart-healthy meal. Wear Red events are scheduled for Feb. 12 at SGMC Lanier Campus (Lakeland) from noon-1pm, Feb. 19 at SGMC Berrien Campus (Nashville) from noon to 1pm, and Feb. 26 at Raisin’ Cane from 8am-9am. Participation is free. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 229.433.1074.For both men and women, SGMC’s annual Heart Health Expo will be Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Valdosta State University Center located at 1205 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta. Sponsored by SGMC’s Dasher Memorial Heart Center and CardioVascular Institute, the South Health District, and 100 Black Men of Valdosta, Inc, this event offers free EKG’s, carotid ultrasound screening tests, cholesterol and blood sugar screenings, and blood pressure checks. Appointments are required for portions of this event and can be made by calling 229.433.1074. “People who consider themselves healthy often misdiagnose the symptoms of a heart attack because they don’t think it could happen to them,” said Courtney Orr, community health promotions coordinator. “That is why it’s crucial to learn about heart disease and stroke, know your numbers, live a heart-healthy lifestyle and be aware of risk factors.” SGMC recognizes the prevalence of heart disease in this region. Just last year, over 2,000 cardiac procedures were performed at SGMC’s Dasher Memorial Heart Center. Additionally, SGMC CVI surgeons Drs. Randall Brown, Maurice Solis, and Joe Johnson performed 300 open heart surgeries. The SGMC CVI, which specializes in open heart surgeries, vascular surgeries, aneurysm repairs and peripheral vascular problems, has already grown its practice by 40 percent since opening in July of 2014.For more information on community health events or SGMC’s heart programs, visit www.sgmc.org.