February is American Heart Month, drawing attention to heart disease, America's No. 1 killer, and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates. Appropriately kicked off on National Wear Red Day (Friday, Feb. 5, 2010), the American Heart Association and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red that day.
REASONS TO BELIEVE
- Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women age 20 and over, but it is largely preventable. In fact, up to 80% of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, including diet, exercise and not smoking.
- Go Red BetterU is a FREE 12-week online nutrition and fitness program that can makeover your heart. Each week will focus on a different area and provide step-by-step guidance. You'll have access to everything from daily expert tips and an online journal to a downloadable BetterMe coaching tool. Visit www.GoRedforWomen.org for more information.
- While 1 in 30 American women die of breast cancer, 1 in 3 women die from cardiovascular disease.
- Cardiovascular disease kills approximately 450,000 women each year, which is about one each minute.
- FEBRUARY 5th: Today is National Wear Red Day! Join dozens of women, as well as companies and organizations in Iowa and cities across America by wearing red today. It's a simple, powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke.
- Overweight children are more likely to have abnormally thick heart muscle tissue when they become an adult, which increases the risk of heart attack and heart failure. Learn how to get your kids on the right track at www.heart.org.
- Visit www.GoRedForWomen.org and join the online discussion about heart health.
- If you or someone you know shows signs of heart attack or stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team can begin treatment when it arrives. That means treatment can begin sooner than it would if the patient arrived at the hospital by car. What's more, the EMS team is also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped, which can save hundreds of lives each year.
- Children of mothers who smoke during pregnancy have more damage to their arteries in young adulthood than offspring of non-smokers and the association is even stronger if both parents smoke.
- Choose to speak up, not remain silent. Support legislation that would improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke in women at www.yourethecure.org.
- Too many lives have and will be cut short from heart disease and its risk factors; however, early detection, lifestyle changes, and other intervention can improve certain conditions.
- Plan meals in advance - visit www.heart.org for recipes from a number of heart-healthy cookbooks and use the online grocery list builder to quickly identify heart-healthy products to add to your grocery list.
13. Schedule a doctor's appointment each year and get a complete blood screen. Visit www.GoRedForWomen.org and download "What to Know BEFORE Your Doctor Visit." Only 1 in 5 women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
- This year about 1.2 million Americans will have a first or repeat coronary attack. About 452,000 of them will die. Coronary heart disease is our nation's leading cause of death.
- Nearly 8 million Americans age 20 and older have survived a heart attack (myocardial infarction). About 8.9 million have angina pectoris (chest pain or discomfort due to reduced blood supply to the heart).
- An estimated 25.1 million men and 20.9 million women increase their risk of heart attack and stroke by smoking cigarettes.
- One of the best ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease is to start getting regular, moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
- Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, causing someone to gasp dramatically, clutch her heart and drop to the ground. No one has any doubts about what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
- The American Heart Association dedicates more monies to research than any
other voluntary health organization. Only the federal government funds more cardiovascular research.
- Start thinking about your heart. By adding one hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, adults may gain up to two hours of life expectancy. Start by including more physical activity into your daily routine. Take a walk, ride a bike or take the stairs. Visit www.StartWalkingNow.org for some free tools and tips.
- About 36.6 million American adults have cholesterol levels of 240 or higher ? the point at which it becomes a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. Your total cholesterol should be below 200, and your HDL (good) cholesterol should be 40 or higher.
- Americans think they are in better heart health than they really are. According to a recent American Heart Association survey, nearly 40 percent thought they were in ideal heart health, when in reality less than 1 percent of Americans have an ideal profile.
- To find out how healthy you are, the American Heart Association developed a new health assessment tool, called My Life Check, at www.heart.org/mylifecheck. It will give you an overall health score and create an action plan to move you closer to your individual health goals. No matter what you score, any healthy change can help you live a longer, better life.
- During a heart check up, your doctor takes a careful look at your "numbers," including your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, your blood pressure and more. Knowing your numbers is an important part of keeping your heart-healthy. It can help you and your doctor know your risks and mark the progress you're making toward a healthier you.
- Smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. If you smoke cigarettes (or cigars), you have a higher risk of illness and death from heart attack, stroke and other diseases. So if you don't smoke, don't start. If you do smoke, love your heart and quit today. Need more motivation? Visit www.heart.org for help quitting smoking.
- Uncovering family history can help you to better understand your risk for heart disease. If you have a blood relative with heart disease or a risk factor for genetic heart disease, your risk for developing it significantly increases.
- More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
- Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. Learn about your risk factors and how to reduce them at www.GoRedForWomen.org.