I snagged this from fellow Cotillion member Conservative Belle. This was a bit of an eye-opener for me, and what really got to me were the statistics. I had NO idea how many women die from heart disease every year!
You know I love y’all dearly. Take a few minutes to read over the following post and see what you can’t do to make sure your heart stays in shape!
Today kicks off the first day of American Heart Month. In the month of February, Americans are spreading awareness of heart disease and prevention. In particular, women everywhere need to examine their lifestyles and determine what changes are necessary to prevent heart disease.
Leading the charge of this awareness campaign for several years is none other than our lovely First Lady Laura Bush. She is the Heart Truth ambassador and has been since Valentine’s Day in 2003. Heart Truth is the organization dedicated to making women aware of the risks of heart disease.
According to Dr. Tedd Mitchell writing in USAToday, the statistics are improving for awareness. But the risks are still great without taking action.
According to hearttruth.gov, in 2000, only 34% of women were aware that heart disease was the No. 1 killer of American women. By 2006, that had increased to 57%. Despite the gains, the campaign remains in full swing: “We want women not only to understand that it’s a killer, but also that the ‘classic’ sign of heart attack [chest pain] may not be present,” the first lady says. “Symptoms in women tend to be different than in men. Decreased energy, indigestion, pain in unusual areas such as the jaw or neck — these should not be dismissed.”
Ladies, assess your risk. Know your numbers: blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar. These are risks that lead to heart disease. You also should know your family history. Did a parent have heart disease at an early age? Do you have a brother or sister with heart disease? If so, your risk might be increased.
Did you know?
Top 5 causes of death for American women One in four women dies from heart disease, making it the No. 1 killer of American women, regardless of race. Here’s the death toll in a recent year:
Heart disease: 332,000
Lung cancer: 68,000
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: 64,000
Breast cancer: 41,000
Source: 2004 figures from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Heart Truth has some tips for women to prevent this deadly disease.
- Don’t smoke, and if you do, quit. Women who smoke are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smoking women. Smoking also boosts the risk of stroke and cancer.
- Aim for a healthy weight. It’s important for a long, vigorous life. Overweight and obesity cause many preventable deaths.
- Get moving. Make a commitment to be more physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.
- Eat for heart health. Choose a diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol, and moderate in total fat.
- Know your numbers. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, triglycerides), and blood glucose. Work with your doctor to improve any numbers that are not normal.
So today I am making a pledge. I promise to exercise 30 minutes every single day in the month of February beginning today. That’s 29 days because it’s a leap year. And I will even post in the comments here every week to prove I’m doing it.
And in addition, I’m challenging all of my Cotillion sisters (a group of at least 50 women) to do the same thing. So what say you, ladies? Up for the challenge?
What about the rest of you? Will you pledge to do it too?
Edit: Also, a great way to help out is to sponsor someone who’s in a program like Jump Rope for Heart. The kids in our area do it every year and it’s a great way to get involved with your kids and instill the importance of keeping your heart healthy!