Women and Heart Disease: Have You Checked Your Heart Lately?
February is American Heart Month, and Feb.3 is National Wear Red Day.
We know that more women die from heart disease than from all cancers combined. But how many times have we read or heard this fact, and then tucked it away in the back of our minds somewhere without really thinking about what that means to each of us?
Do you know if you are at risk for a heart attack, stroke or heart disease? Have you really changed your eating habits yet- is your kitchen filled with heart-healthy foods - or are you not sure which foods even meet the criteria?
Should I ask about your exercise plan and how that is going?
If you are anything like me, the answers to those questions are not what they should be.
The fact is that most women will have have at least one risk factor for heart disease even if they don't know it. And whether we like it or not, how we live our daily lives will affect our risk for heart disease greatly. Things like sitting at our desk for hours without getting up and moving is a big red flag for heart problems later. And drinking soda, eating those sugary desserts....very bad. Many habits we have or have had, we now know are bad for our hearts, the problem is that we do not always make conscious efforts to change those habits.
But making the right lifestyle choices - not smoking, watching our weight, exercising every day, and eating a heart-healthy diet - can help significantly lower our heart disease risk. We have the power - we just need to use it. And don't get caught up in the thought that you are still too young to worry about heart disease - because you are not.
"Heart disease is often perceived as an "older woman's disease," and it is the leading cause of death among women aged 65 years and older. However, heart disease is the third leading cause of death among women aged 25–44 years and the second leading cause of death among women aged 45–64 years. Remember that many cases of heart disease can be prevented! - CDC "
So here are some great websites to visit as American Heart Month approaches, where you can learn about women and heart disease, why heart disease is the number one killer of women, heart-healthy food choices we need to be making every day, and the risk factors that can increase our chances for heart attacks, strokes and other heart problems - and what we can do about them.
The American Heart Association
Go Red For Women
Go Red For Women (an awesome place to get started ) is offering a free online program that should help you kick-start tour heart health regime if you haven't yet. Go Red For Women's BetterU 12-week online nutrition and fitness program will focus on a different area of your health each week, and give you step-by-step guidance, motivation and encouragement. You will get access to expert tips, an online journal, and a downloadable BetterU coaching tool. They also give heart-healthy strategies for women in their twenties through their 60's.
Do you want to know if you are at risk, and how a high of a risk, for heart disease? Heart Healthy Women has a free online assessment tool to help you calculate your risk, and help identify areas in your lifestyle that can be modified so as to reduce your risk.
And at The American Heart Association website, you'll find the very latest recommendations, updates and advice for women and heart disease prevention.
Please, take some time to check on your heart. As women, we tend to be the nurturers and take care of everyone else but ourselves. We need to remember to take the time for ourselves and take charge of our own health. And don't forget to wear red this Feb.3 to show your support in the fight against heart disease in women.