Women and hearts; we draw them as we daydream of young love, they are broken, we are accused of making our decisions with our hearts and we invest every ounce our hearts can give into those that we love. Yet how often do we think of our heart’s health??
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women. Heart disease is not a middle aged man’s disease any more. The American Heart Association’s “Go Red” initiative hopes to change this fact. “Go Red” was developed to raise funds for women’s heart health research and to bring awareness of heart health to women of all ages. Goredforwomen.org has been developed to bring this awareness to women by educating them in heart disease’s risk factors and preventative measures for women of all ages. You can log on to complete their Go Red Heart Checkup and learn your personal risk factors.
Healthy heart habits start when women are in their twenties and will continue throughout their lives. Although some risks can’t be avoided, such as family history of heart disease, women have many ways to manage the risks which we can influence. Some ways that women can manage their risk factors are as follows;
- Stop smoking…NOW. Not only does smoking put you at risk for heart disease, it also increases your risk of developing breathing problems and some forms of cancer. Besides, smoking is rumored to cause wrinkles…who wants wrinkles?
- Lower your stress level – easier said than done!
- Moderate your alcohol consumption. Most recent studies advise one drink per day for women. This does not mean that you can ‘save up’ your intake and drink 7 drinks on Saturday!
- Eat right. As with any preventable condition/disease, a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and lean protein can fortify the body to fight off inflammation, thought to contribute to heart disease.
- Schedule/maintain regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. As ‘Go red’ recommends, knowing your numbers [cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL and vital signs] will help you and your health care provider manage your risks.
In this month of love and hearts, let’s give a little love to our hearts and be heart healthy!
Julie Hobgood, RN, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (866) 866-8984