Today is National Wear Red Day®, which is dedicated to showing support for the awareness of heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year; it is the leading cause of death in women.
While heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, it is 80% preventable1. That’s why we are going to chat and chew about ways you can go red this February and become more aware of early warning signs and help prevent heart disease!
For starters, the infographic below, by the American Heart Association, provides an in-depth look at the facts and all the progress made to reduce the number of women affected by heart disease.
Image © Go Red For Women
Key risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking1. According to the CDC, “about half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors.” There are additional medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can put people at higher risk such as, diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol use2.
Symptoms of heart disease are no joke. If you experience major warning signs, seek medical attention right away. Warnings signs include the following:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats
TIPS FOR PREVENTING HEART DISEASE
Protecting your heart is the highest priority for preventing heart disease. Besides lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, the CDC suggests taking the following measures:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol (see here for recipes)
- Eat fruits and vegetables – recommend 4-5 servings per day3
- Take a brisk 10-minute walk / 3x per day / 5 times a week
- Don’t smoke
As a friendly reminder, as a Compass Rose Health Plan member, you have access to a free smoking cessation program to help you quit smoking. Visit www.compassrosebenefits.com/QuitSmoking to learn more or to sign-up today.
There are tons of resources available! For starters, check out this list of ways to live healthy provided by Go Red for Women. The CDC also offers educational pieces with important information ranging from key definitions, to podcasts, fact sheets, and more! Plus, you can always ask your doctor to help educate you on early warning signs of heart problems as well. Other resources are only a Google search away, so we encourage you to set aside time to research more—especially if you have health concerns of your own.
From the infographic above, clearly the fight against heart disease is growing in strength and numbers. Focusing specifically on women, it clearly shows how a conscious effort has been made to lose weight, quit smoking, check cholesterol levels, develop a heart health plan, and much more. So, even if red isn’t your color, show your support for the fight against heart disease by going red for women today!