Heart Health and Women
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year! Do you or the women in your life know their heart health status?
Heart Health Facts
February is Heart Month and the first Friday of the month is Go Red for Women day! This day is a good time to learn about your risk factors and ways to change them. Risk factors can be separated into ones we cannot change – genetics, age, gender, ethnicity – and ones we can change – diet, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and others. When it comes to heart disease the risk factors for men and women are the same, but women tend to develop symptoms later in life and often the symptoms are more severe.
Risks of Heart Disease
Many people mistakenly believe that the symptoms of heart disease are the same in women as they are in men. In fact, 64% of women who died of heart disease had no previous symptoms. People are led to believe that heart disease is first noticed with crushing chest pain, the reality is that women often have different symptoms. Women often experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Dizziness and a lightheaded feeling or extreme fatigue are common symptoms in women. Sharing the facts on heart disease is a prime goal of the American Heart Association (AHA). In 2004 the AHA put a focus on women and heart disease!
Go Red for Women!
The goal of Go Red for Women is to increase awareness about the risks of heart disease in women while uniting women to fight this battle together. By wearing red on the first Friday in the month of February it acts to remind people that women do get heart disease! In addition to wearing red and donating to the AHA for more research on heart disease in women Go Red is a good time to assess your diet and exercise levels. When it comes to diet, you can help reduce your heart disease risk by –
- Boosting your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Choosing lean meat while trying to consume fish and seafood more often
- Shifting to lower fat dairy products
- Limiting your intake of simple sugars in foods that lack nutritional value, like cookies, sugar sweetened beverages, etc.
- Reducing the amount of salt you use, try using herbs, spices or MSG to boost flavors
- Monitor your portions to keep your intake appropriate for your body
In addition to watching your diet, try to get regular activity, walking, biking, dancing, etc., most days of the week for about 30 minutes at a time.
To Your Health!
Preventing heart disease by choosing an eating plan that is more plant-based, that offers a wide variety of flavors and textures, and that is one that you can enjoyably follow is the best step to take on Go Red for Women day!
About Connie – Connie is a Registered Dietitian with extensive experience communicating in the food and nutrition space. Taking the science of food and nutrition and translating it to simple messages, new products, or exciting menus is her expertise. Making nutrition messages clear, accurate, and engaging aids all consumers.