On February 2nd, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health celebrate National Wear Red Day® to bring attention to the number one killer of women, heart disease. Despite the fact that heart disease kills more women than the next four causes of death combined, most women still think of it as a man’s disease. This misperception prevents many of us from taking the steps we need to keep ourselves healthy.
Celebrate your health
When it comes to heart health, there are some changes that pack a big punch. Celebrate your health and the health of the women in your life by making these strategies a priority.
• Move more. The more active you are, the better you will feel and the lower your risk for heart disease will be. All activity counts, so don’t skip it if you are short on time. Ten minutes, three times a day is enough to make a difference.
• Eat more of the good stuff. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are delicious foods that can help to lower your heart disease risk.
• Eat less of the not so good stuff. Foods that are high in sodium (salt), trans or saturated fat and added sugar such as bacon or packaged snacks and desserts, increase your heart disease risk and should be limited or reduced. And of course, don’t smoke. If you do, February 2nd makes a great quit date!
Know where you stand
Not all risk factors are obvious and most women developing heart disease have no symptoms at all. Check in with your doctor regularly to see what your personal heart disease risk is. Don’t assume that they will be the ones to start the discussion. Be proactive and have questions ready. Both the Go Red for Women and The Heart Truth websites have great tools to get you started.
1 out of 3 women’s deaths annually are caused by cardiovascular diseases & stroke, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds
80% of all cardiac events could have been prevented with better health choices
30 minutes of mild cardio per day can help reduce your risk of heart disease
90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease and stroke
1. www.goredforwomen.org 2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Women and Heart Disease facts; https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_women_heart.htm