Tomorrow is the 10th Annual National Wear Red Day to bring awareness to heart disease which is the number one cause of death in women. I’ll be wearing my red dress pin in honor of my mother, grandmother and other loved ones who have battled heart disease.
Most people don’t realize that heart disease is so prevalent but it kills women at a rate of one per minute. When you add the loss of men in the mix heart disease kills someone every 38 seconds and it is America’s overall number 1 killer.
There are things we can all do to help prevent or minimize heart disease.
1. Exercise regularly. Studies have shown that 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week reduces the risk of heart disease. It also helps with weight control.
My challenge as many of us is working up to this amount. It’s important for health.
2. Eat a healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of nutritious foods including vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, fish and healthy oils. You’ll want to limit or eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks.
Of course these healthy foods should be cooked in ways that doesn’t involve adding fat such as baking, broiling or stewing.
3. Maintain healthy weight. Being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The extra weight makes the heart work harder and can raise blood pressure.
All 148 million Americans overweight like me need to work on getting tour BMI (Body Mass Index) in the healthy weight range of 18.5 – 24.9.
3. Stop Smoking. Smoking is the most preventable risk factor for heart disease. If you don’t smoke but are around it then you are still at risk as thousands of nonsmokers experience health issues related to exposure.
It’s never too late to quit and the risk of heart disease can return to the same as non-smokers in time.
4. Medical Compliance. It’s amazing how many people don’t take medications that can mitigate risk factors. If you are prescribed medications for heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes take them!
Given my personal and family medical histories I’m working on several of these preventive measures. You’ll find lots of valuable resources on the GoRedForWomen.org website including a family tree document where you can map risk factors in your immediate family.
Will you wear red tomorrow and help raise awareness of heart disease in women?