Every February, women across the nation “Go Red for Women”
as part of the American Heart Association’s campaign to raise awareness.
But do you know the shocking statistics behind this observance?
Heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the United States. For the last 90 years, heart disease has claimed the lives of more women
in this country than any other disease.
Heart disease is a major cause of disability. Heart conditions are one of the leading causes of disability in the United
States. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
can cause disabling heart disease.
Heart disease is preventable. 90% of heart disease is preventable.
How can you best care for your heart?
Monitor Your Blood Pressure
If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause a heart attack, stroke
or other health problems. But a large percentage of people who have high
blood pressure are unaware of their condition. Visiting your doctor regularly
and keeping track of your vital health statistics can help you keep your
Don’t Smoke or Quit Smoking
Smoking increases plaque formation in your blood vessels, leading to major
health risks including heart disease. Quitting helps your blood pressure
return to normal and reduces your risk of heart disease, lung cancer and
a variety of other complications. There is never a bad time to quit smoking.
Reduce your Stress
Stress is a major contributor to overall poor health. Whether it is caused
by work, family or finances, it’s important to take a step back
and breathe. You can walk outside and enjoy the sunshine, practice yoga
or try meditating each day to keep your stress levels down.
Did you know that carrying too much weight around your waist can put you
at greater risk of high blood pressure and diabetes? Weight loss is one
of the most effective lifestyle changes for improving your heart health.
Regular physical activity — about 150 minutes a week — can
improve your heart health. But staying consistent is key to keeping the
benefits of exercise high and your risk for heart disease down. Some exercises
you could do include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Have questions about more ways you can care for your heart? Ask your doctor
at your next appointment. If you're looking for a physician, CaroMont
Health can help! Find a list of all of our expert providers right here.
Experts recommend women have no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
In the long term, women who consume more alcohol than is recommended are
at risk for developing liver disease faster than men. But it’s not
just your liver that is a concern. Too much alcohol can weaken your heart,
put you at increased risk for breast cancer and have an adverse effect
on your immune system.
Eating healthy foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat
dairy products improve your health, and reducing the amount of sodium
and increasing potassium in your diet can improve your heart health. Not
sure where to start? Check out this heart-healthy grocery list: