Did you know that cardiovascular disease and stroke cause one in three women’s deaths each year? That’s about one woman every 80 seconds! It’s time to fight back against this deadly disease.
On Friday, February 2, 2018 women around the country will don something red from their closets on National Wear Red Day®, a part of the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red for Women® campaign. The initiative focuses on dispelling myths and raising awareness of cardiovascular disease, empowering women to take charge of their heart health.
In addition to wearing red, you can show your support by educating yourself and others about heart disease, its symptoms and how to prevent it. “Life’s Simple 7” tips from the American Heart Association will help you get started:
Daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (like brisk walking, yoga or swimming) a day, five times per week, to lower your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that our bodies use to make cell membranes and some hormones. But too much bad cholesterol (LDL) combines with white blood cells to form plaque in your veins and arteries. These blockages lead to heart disease and stroke. You can lower your cholesterol by
- Engaging in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week
- Avoiding tobacco smoke
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
If you are frequently skipping veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains and lean meats including fish, your body is missing the basic building blocks for a healthy life. Try introducing more of these into your daily diet and cut back on added sugars and saturated fats.
Manage blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries and kidneys. To help manage blood pressure, eat a heart-healthy diet, reduce sodium, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, limit alcohol and avoid tobacco smoke.
If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is around your waist — you’re at higher risk for health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Even losing as few as five to 10 pounds can produce a dramatic blood pressure reduction.
Reduce blood sugar
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. The body makes a hormone called insulin that acts like a carrier to take your food energy into your cells. If your fasting blood sugar level is below 100, you are in the healthy range. If not, your results could indicate diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Although diabetes is treatable and you can live a healthy life with the condition, even when glucose levels are under control it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. You can reduce your blood sugar by decreasing consumption of soda, candy and sugary desserts, participating in regular, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, and taking medications or insulin if prescribed by your doctor.
Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm and blood clots. Smoking can also reduce your good cholesterol (HDL) and your lung capacity, making it harder to get the physical activity you need for better health. Whatever it takes for you to stop smoking, it’s worth it! For tools and resources, visit http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/QuitSmoking/QuittingResources/Resources-to-Help-You-Quit-Smoking_UCM_307934_Article.jsp