Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, taking the life of 1 in 3 women each year.
Women just like you and the ones you love – mothers, sisters, friends – are dying at the rate of one per minute because they don’t know that heart disease is their biggest health threat.
The American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women movement, beneficiary of the SingularCity Valentine’s event on February 13, works to make sure women are aware that they are at risk so they can take action to live longer, stronger, healthier lives.
Go Red calls on all women to make it your mission to fight heart disease by keeping yourself informed and knowing your risks, taking steps to protect your health and sharing what you know about heart disease with your family and friends.
There are important things you need to know about heart disease:
- It is the No. 1 killer of women age 20 and over, killing approximately one woman every minute.
- More women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer.
- 1 in 3 American women die of heart disease, compared to 1 in 30 women that die of breast cancer.
- Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
However, it isn’t all bad news. According to the American Heart Association, 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented if you make the right choices for your heart, involving diet, physical activity and abstinence from smoking. Even simple, small changes can make a big difference.
The American Heart Association recommends seven simple steps – known as Life’s Simple 7 — to help improve your heart health. These seven simple measures have one unique thing in common: any person can make these changes, the steps are not expensive to take and even modest improvements to your health will make a big difference.
Life’s Simple 7
Regular physical activity has many proven benefits including lowering blood pressure and reducing feelings of stress. Making small choices throughout the day like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or choosing the furthest parking spot will get you on the right track to heart healthy living.
Cholesterol is an important part of a healthy body but too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk for coronary heart disease and for stroke. To keep your cholesterol under control: schedule a screening, eat foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat and free of trans fat, maintain a healthy weight, and stay physically active.
The American Heart Association recommends that you eat a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each of the basic food groups. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.
Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. These changes may help reduce your blood pressure: eating a heart-healthy diet, which includes reducing salt intake; enjoying regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy weight; managing stress; limiting alcohol; and, avoiding tobacco smoke.
If you are overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. Balance healthy eating (caloric energy) with the (molecular) energy that leaves your body through a healthy level of physical activity.
Reduce Blood Sugar
Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke as adults without diabetes. It is critical for people with diabetes to have regular check-ups. Work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your diabetes and control any other risk factors.
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Quit-smoking programs are available through hospitals, and many states have hotlines with trained staff to help you.
Visit heart.org/MyLifeCheck to access a health assessment tool that will give you an overall health score and create an action plan to move you closer to your individual health goals.