Go Red: February Is American Heart Month!
THE NATION GOES RED IN FEBRUARY
Every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. This annual groundswell unites millions of people for a common goal: the eradication of heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease and stroke is the No. 1 killer in women. Heart disease claims the lives of more than 400,000 women each year – about one per minute. That’s about the same as the next three most common causes of death combined.
The American Heart Association’s signature women’s initiative, Go Red for Women, is a comprehensive platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. It’s about all women making a commitment to stand together with Go Red and taking charge of their own heart health, as well as the health of those they can’t bear to live without.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
Knowing your numbers is important! The American Heart Association recommends that you be aware of five key numbers:
- Total Cholesterol
- HDL (good) Cholesterol
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Sugar
- Body Mass Index (BMI).
These numbers are important because they will allow you and your healthcare provider to determine your risk for developing Cardiovascular Disease by Atherosclerosis. This includes conditions such as Angina (chest pain), Heart Attack, Stroke (caused by Blood Clots) and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
HEART DISEASE IN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN
African American women are disproportionately affected by heart disease and stroke. Here are a few unsettling stats:
- Cardiovascular diseases kill nearly 50,000 African-American women annually.
- Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart diseases.
- Only 1 in 5 African-American women believes she is personally at risk.
- Only 52 percent of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
- Only 36 percent of African-American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.
To read more valuable, life-saving information about African American women and heart disease, please click HERE.
PREVENTING CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Do you take care of your family? Goes without saying. Do you take care of your home? Of course. Do you take care of your heart? Probably not.
It may not be at the top of most women’s to-do lists, but caring for your heart through a healthy diet and regular physical activity is the secret weapon to preventing heart disease. While many may assume that popping a few pills that your healthcare provider prescribed is enough to quell symptoms or prevent a heart attack, the real preventative power lies with real changes to your lifestyle – which can reduce the risk for heart disease by as much as 80 percent.
GOOD NUTRITION: DEFENSE AGAINST HEART DISEASE
The good news is that you have the power to dramatically reduce your risk, and a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains is your first defense against the onset of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
As you begin setting nutritional goals for yourself and your family, remember that starting with small but consistent changes can make a big difference in the long run. An adult consuming 2,000 calories daily should aim for:
- Fruits and vegetables: At least 4.5 cups a day
- Fish (preferably oily fish, like salmon): At least two 3.5-ounce servings a week
- Fiber-rich whole grains: At least three 1-ounce servings a day
- Nuts, legumes, and seeds: At least 4 servings a week, opting for unsalted varieties whenever possible
Other dietary measures:
- Sodium: Less than 1,500 mg a day
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: Aim to consume no more than 450 calories a week
- Processed meats: No more than two servings a week
- Saturated fat: Should comprise no more than 7 percent of your total calorie intake
You may want to keep a food journal of everything you consume, including beverages and snacks. Seeing it written down is an easy way to identify high-sugar, high-fat calorie sources that you should reduce or cut out completely.
Also, if you haven’t before, take the time to familiarize yourself with standard food nutrition labels. You may be surprised by hidden sodium, sugars and fats in the foods you considered healthy.
GO RED FOR WOMEN® | THE HEART TRUTH®
Go Red For Women and The Heart Truth are encouraging all women to schedule their next doctor’s appointment and to learn their personal health numbers. It’s time to learn the most critical numbers in your life. Grab a friend or a family member and make a “Go Red Healthy Behavior Commitment” today: Your heart depends on it.
FOR MORE RESOURCES
The more you know, the better equipped you can be to lead a healthy lifestyle and to prevent heart disease. For more resources and links to the AHA’s GoRed for Women campaign, please see our links below:
Go Red for Women® is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. For more on how you can help prevent heart disease, improve your exercise regimen, and develop heart-healthy eating habits, please click here: https://www.goredforwomen.org/en
#GoRedGetFit – Healthy + Fit + You = Now! Go Red Get Fit is a fitness initiative directed at women as part of the American Heart Association’s GoRed campaign. For more on heart-healthy exercise, fitness, recipes, videos, and more, please click here: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/go-red-get-fit
Sleep, Women and Heart Disease – Did you know that poor sleep quality is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure? The better night’s sleep you get, the healthier your heart will be. Click here to read more: https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/go-red-get-fit/sleep-women-and-heart-disease
African American Women and Heart Disease –African-American women have almost two times the risk of stroke than Caucasians, and more likely to die at an earlier age when compared to women of other ethnicities. Click here to read more: https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/facts/heart-disease-in-african-american-women
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The information on westa.org is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content and information is for general information purposes only. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with your own physician, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician.
All text and images, courtesy, AHA. Many thanks!