Happy Friday, everyone. As many of as you know, the first Friday in February is national "wear red" day, a time when the American Heart Association asks that, in an effort to increase awareness around women's heart health issues, everyone wear something red.
Cardiac events, such as heart disease and stroke, are the leading causes of death among women in the United States. Citing statistics from 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that of all female deaths that year, nearly 300,000 -- or one in four -- died as a result of stroke and heart disease. And according to the AHA and its "Go Red for Women" website, those two causes account for more female deaths annually "than all cancers combined."
But there's good news. Eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented through some education, inspiration and simple lifestyle changes.
The first thing you need to do is make certain you know your risk. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- being overweight
- consuming excess alcohol
- being too sedentary
- undergoing high stress
To combat these risk factors, try to:
- limit alcohol intake to just one drink per day (or less)
- strive for a healthier diet
- make more time for regular exercise
- and please just get rid of the cigarettes already, will you? (And ask for help to quit, if you need it)
The goal is that these lifestyle changes will positively affect blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thus reducing your risk of a cardiac event.
National wear red day is a public health initiative, and a community activity. So, whether its a cozy sweater or some shiny lip gloss, remember to add a little pizazz to your wardrobe with the color red. It's a small gesture to those who have personally suffered, or experienced a loss as a result of heart disease, as well as well a reminder that we still have a lot to learn when it comes to women's heart health.