American Heart Health Month
Women’s Healthcare Associates of Redding proudly participates in activities that educate women about the risks of Heart Disease
This month is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and increasing knowledge about prevention. Below are some statistics about heart disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.
Do you know what causes heart disease in women?
What about the survival rate?
Or whether women of all ethnicities share the same risk?
The fact is: Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men. What’s more: These facts only begin to scratch the surface.
There are several misconceptions about heart disease in women, and they could be putting you at risk. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health for this very reason. In this section, we’ll arm you with the facts and dispel some myths – because the truth can no longer be ignored.
You can make healthy changes to lower your risk of developing heart disease. Controlling and preventing risk factors is also important for people who already have heart disease. To lower your risk:
- Watch your weight.
- Quit smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke.
- Control your cholesterol and blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get active and eat healthy.
Know the Facts!
Before you blow off heart disease as something health-savvy younger women don’t have to worry about, read the stats. It’s the number one killer of women over age 20, and one in three women have already racked up damage without having a clue. To spotlight the facts, the American Heart Association has made February Go Red for Women month, and they want you to know the easy moves that’ll help keep your ticker in top shape.
Learn Your Family History: Like so many other conditions, your genes influence your heart disease risk. If a first-degree female relative (your mom or your sister) was diagnosed with heart disease before age 65, or a first-degree male relative received a diagnosis before age 55, your odds of having a heart attack one day increase threefold. Luckily, making lifestyle changes now can dramatically lower your likelihood of following in their footsteps.
Stop Smoking—For Good: As if you need another reason to ditch the habit, women who smoke more than double their risk of sudden cardiac death, according to a December 2014 American Heart Association study, because nicotine can alter heart functioning and cigarette smoke scars heart tissue. We’re not just talking about pack-a-day puffers here. Any amount of smoking boosts your risk, the study explains, even an occasional cigarette at a party. The upside: As soon as you go cold turkey, your heart will start rebounding.
Get a Cholesterol Test: It’s simple screening that can clue you in to your future heart disease risk. Get tested in your 20’s so you have a baseline, and if it’s in a healthy range, you won’t need to be retested for another five years. If the numbers aren’t optimal, your doc can help bring them in line by recommending diet changes or prescribing medication.
Making history, Yoda is. Not just any sheep, Yoda is a star therapy animal that made veterinary history with a special heart surgery that saved his life. [Courtesy American Heart Association Website]
Eat Heart Healthy Foods
It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.
Heart Healthy Foods Include:
- Brown or Wild Rice
- Flax Seeds
- Olive Oil
- Sweet Potatoes
- Red Bell Peppers
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Green Tea
- Red Wine
- Acorn Squash
Heart Healthy Apps to Track Progress
Here is a list of the best fitness apps, work out apps, and Premium Health and Fitness Apps for android and Iphone, rated in 2016.
My Diet Coach
Yoga Wake Up
Heart Healthy Links
Below we are providing some valuable links to more information about Heart Health, exercise, heart healthy foods, and lifestyle changes.
Move Around: Your heart is a muscle, and like all muscles, working it out keeps it healthy by strengthening tissue and improving circulation. Aim for about 30 minutes a day of light to moderate cardio. That doesn’t mean hightailing it to Crossfit every night: you can reap the benefits with activities such as dancing, cleaning your house, or even walking your dog.
Reel in Stress: When you’re anxious, your body pumps out higher amounts of the hormone cortisol, and consistently high cortisol levels cranks your cardiovascular disease risk. Also, a small 2012 study from Penn State University found that when women were stressed, their hearts pumped less blood than stressed-out men, putting more of a strain on the female heart. We know it’s easier said than done, but try to carve out time every day to unwind, even if it’s just chilling with your iPod or popping in a yoga DVD.
Fill Your Plate with Healthy Food: Unprocessed, plant-based foods have a positive effect on your heart, so load up on plenty of salad, whole grains, and cereals. Keep sugar and salt to a minimum; simple sugars (the kind found in processed foods and snacks) have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, which contributes to heart disease. Excess salt also poses a threat; too much can boost blood pressure, which stresses the heart. Of course, just as important as what you eat is how much you consume. Controlling portion sizes keeps you from packing on pounds, and obesity is a cardiovascular disease risk factor.
Score Regular Restful Sleep: Sleeping less than an average of seven hours a night has been shown to cause high blood pressure. Poor sleep is also linked to the accumulation of abdominal fat—and muffin top is another heart attack offender.
Strengthen Your Social Network: Whether it’s in real time or on Facebook, people who maintain positive relationships with friends and family have lower heart disease odds. One reason has to do with the fact that a strong social network makes it easier to handle life’s challenges. But also, people who are socially isolated tend skip workouts and eat poorly.
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