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.
February is also known as National Heart Health Month. It’s a hard truth, but heart disease is not picky, so men and women are both at risk. About 1 in 4 deaths are linked to heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. With that in mind, we’d like to take some time to discuss a few ways to eat and exercise in order to achieve a better lifestyle.
Track what you put into your body. Add color to your plate and make sure to get two servings of fruits and vegetables, but avoid the extra salt and sugar that is sometimes present in canned fruits and vegetables. Whole grains are a better option when faced with multiple choices. Fish and poultry products should be your first choices due to the omega 3 fatty acids within them, prepared without the skin and leaning towards salmon and trout when preparing fish. When wanting red meat, always check for the leaner cuts. Skim and 1% dairy products get you a step closer to a fat-free and low-fat diet. Sugary drinks are extremely bad for you, and you should ultimately try to cut them from your diet. You really want to rid yourself of saturated and trans fats, in order to replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Paying attention to serving sizes or cooking meals at home will help keep you from overeating and not paying attention to your calorie intake.
Walking, stair climbing, swimming, and biking are all ways to increase heart health.
A good week of activity should typically include 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at least five days per week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least three days a week. Of course, it is very important to speak to your doctor to create a routine that is safe and right for your body, health, and age.
Remember that everyone has to start somewhere, so if you can’t make each workout when you first start out, you’ll get there! Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Visit www.heart.org for more tips.
Written by Zoe Pierson
Nearly 2,000 people are expected to attend the Roanoke NRV Heart Walk this Saturday, October 17 at River’s Edge Park, hosted by the American Heart Organization. Registration and festivities will begin at 9 am. At 10 am, the opening ceremony/survivor ceremony and walk will begin.
This is a great opportunity for the community to come together, raise funds and increase awareness to prevent heart disease and strokes. Heart disease and stroke survivors will wear red capes and lead participants through the walk, along with a coach and horses from Wells Fargo. Entertainment will include a performance by National Baton Twirling Champion Harlie Dale, the national anthem by Carolyn Cox, and The Loose Strings Band.
This event will also have a red heart balloon arch where participants can pose for photos and a “Kids Zone” featuring face painting, a balloon artist, Heart Man, and Q-Bear mascots. Go to www.roanokenrvheartwalk.org for more information and to register.
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.