February is American Heart Month. According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke, equal to 2,200 deaths per day. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent fatal complications from heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association lists several of these on their website, including:
Eat Smart: You can’t eat perfect foods all the time, but you can make healthier choices more often. Did you know that some single-serving fruits and veggies can actually be cheaper than vending machine snacks? Buy in bulk, freeze excess servings, and watch videos on how to prepare healthy snacks using a variety of produce. Check out healthyforgood.heart.org for several heart-healthy recipes that you and your family will enjoy!
Move More: You’ve probably heard that the ideal goal is to move at least 150 minutes each week. However, if that seems to daunting, try smaller time frames first. Look for ways in your day to move more. Sometimes it means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or incorporating 10-minute arm workouts at your desk with small weights. Every small decision you make to move adds up fast.
Be Well: Occasionally, we forget the combatting stress is a battle we must fight daily to keep our bodies healthy. Talk to your doctor and make sure you are getting enough sleep. Set aside moments in the day that you will not give into the urge to check social media. This would also be a great time to research the free yoga classes around Roanoke and learn to practice mindfulness. Make it a priority to take care of yourself.
The American Heart Association works year-round to reduce fatalities related to heart disease and stroke by providing preventative education, support, and funding for research. Generous volunteers and donors in the community help make that happen. Consider making a donation of time or money to help support their mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Visit www.heart.org for more information.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year. The warning signs are not the same for women as they are for men. They can include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Heart disease and stroke do not discriminate by age, ethnicity or background. It is important to know your numbers and do what you can to prevent permanent or fatal damage from both–even if it means going to the hospital at an inconvenient time to make sure everything is okay.
Learn more about how to stay heart healthy and your personal wellness by visiting your doctor and www.goredforwomen.org.
You can support the life-saving efforts of the American Heart Association by attending their Go Red for Women Luncheon on May 25 at 11 a.m at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ijeoma N. Okogbue of Carilion Clinic Cardiology. The event will also include a fashion show by Macy’s, a networking reception with a silent auction, and heart-healthy living demos, education, and lunch.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website or call 540-989-2810.
Join us for the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Luncheon tomorrow, May 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Hotel Roanoke. This luncheon is a wonderful way to learn more about how millions of women have united to raise their voices about their number one killer, heart disease. With your help, many more lives can be saved.
“I’m honored to be involved with the Go Red for Women campaign,” says Donna Littlepage, 2015-16 Go Red for Women Chair. “It is very important to educate women on the dangers of heart disease and stroke and to continue AHA’s support of research in this area.”
Find out how you can join the American Heart Association in the fight to raise awareness and save lives by attending the luncheon. Visit their website for details.
Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. To put this in perspective, think of ten women that you know. Nine of them have risk factors that could hospitalize or even kill them—and they may not even know it.
So many of us go through our everyday lives without stopping to consider what certain symptoms are trying to tell us. Women and men alike (especially parents) put the concerns of their family first. Some women even experience chest pain and put off a visit to the hospital in order to finish errands. We simply do not think that something so serious could impact us. Certainly a heart attack or stroke would have the courtesy to schedule an appointment in our planner.
Unfortunately, such medical catastrophes do not wait until it is convenient for us to go to the doctor.
Heart attacks can also be more difficult to identify for women than men. Sarah Fedele, Communications and Marketing Director for the American Heart Association, explains that this could be the reason that fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
“Though this continues to be researched, one explanation is the vastly different warning signs that women can experience,” says Fedele. “Men often present with pressure in the chest—but women are somewhat more likely to present with more of the less common symptoms such as shortness of breath, jaw pain, nausea, back pain, and vomiting. I have heard women survivors talk of fire in the chest, tightness in the chest, and even of overall flu-like symptoms. The best key we have is for women to know their own bodies and to be their own advocates when they feel that something is not right.”
For your health, and your sanity, now is the time to start making changes in your lifestyle to keep your heart healthy. Of the many people who will experience a heart attack or stroke, EIGHTY percent of those problems could be prevented. With numbers that high, why not improve your quality of life for the chance to avoid an inconvenient hospital stay and, perhaps, a tragedy?
“The American Heart Association recommends that people review the seven different risk factors for heart disease and stroke and start today to work on the one that is most fitting for them, moving that needle toward ideal cardiovascular health,” says Fedele. “They are tied together—for example, when people work on getting more active or eating a heart-healthy diet they will see most of their numbers head toward healthier ranges.”
Fedele also explains that, although four in 10 Americans think they have ideal cardiovascular health. In reality, less than 1% of adults in the United States are in that category. If you are curious about your own cardiovascular health, you can go to www.mylifecheck.org to take a free personal assessment and the American Heart Association will recommend a personalized plan to help you reach your goals.
Join Bella (and millions of others) on February 6, as we recognize National Wear Red Day and do our part to help break barriers against heart disease and stroke. For more information on symptoms, getting healthy, and stories from survivors, visit www.heart.org.
Pick up our February issue for a checklist that will help you determine your risks for getting heart disease.