Heart disease and stoke are the number one causes of death for American women. Every 60 to 80 seconds, another woman dies as a result of heart disease or stroke. The good news is most heart disease is preventable with education and action. To bring awareness to heart health, the American Heart Association encourages everyone to celebrate National Wear Red Day® on February 3rd. While celebrating Wear Red Day is always fun, National Wear Red day is also a chance to increase awareness and education about this devastating disease.
Know causes, risks and symptoms of heart disease
Know what you can control to prevent heart disease. While some things may be out of your control, many risks can be managed. Things you can’t control include age, gender, family history, race or previous heart disease. But if you know the risks associated with each of these, and things you can manage, you are on your way to preventing heart disease.
High blood pressure and high blood cholesterol are two serious risk factors. Smoking and not getting enough physical activity also increase your risk. Being overweight and having diabetes also may increase the odds of contracting heart disease. You may not be able to control all of your risks because family history is a factor especially related to cholesterol levels. However, being honest about what you can and cannot control are crucial in protecting your long-term health. By managing your risk factors, even if your genes come into play, you can minimize your risk. Be honest, be aware, and follow these five tips for improving your heart health.
5 Tips to remember after Wear Red Day
Know your numbers: The American Heart Association recommends you know five key numbers to improve your heart health: total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (the good kind), blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index (BMI). These numbers are important because they help assess your risk of heart disease. Learn about your numbers by scheduling an appointment with your doctor today.
Get active: Research shows that even a little bit of physical activity helps improve heart health. Adults should get 150 minutes of exercise each week. That can include walking, biking, strength training or any combination. Using your SilverSneakers® membership is a great way to meet your exercise goals and is included free in many Medicare health plans. Check to see if you are eligible, then find your nearest location and get started today!
Quit smoking: We all know smoking is bad for your health. But it’s mostly bad for your lungs, right, not your heart? Wrong. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by two to four times. And women have a 25 percent higher chance of getting heart disease than men. Check here for more ways smoking affects your health as well as tips for quitting.
Manage stress and get enough sleep: Stress affects your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. Although you probably can’t eliminate stress, you want to learn how to manage your stress so it doesn’t negatively impact your heart. Physical activity and meditation are both great ways to manage or reduce your stress. Being active can also lead to better sleeping habits and getting enough sleep is also essential to manage stress. Many of us don’t get enough sleep and that puts stress on our tickers. Do you have trouble sleeping? Here are three remedies you can try to improve your sleep and, in essence, improve your heart health.
Eat a well-balanced diet: Your diet is plays a major role in heart health. You want to make sure you eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables (the more color, the better), whole grains instead of simple carbs and low-fat dairy products. You also want to make sure you eat skinless poultry and fish, along with nuts and legumes. And use non-tropical vegetable oils. Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. Check out some of the great heart healthy recipes below in our free e-book.
Whether you are young or experienced, heart health is important for all. If you don’t already know your numbers, schedule an appointment with your doctor today to discuss your heart. Most heart disease is preventable. You just have to take the first step. So educate yourself, get active, eat well and #GoRedWearRed to show your support for women’s heart health.