The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Although heart disease is typically thought of as a “man’s disease,” the stereotype is wrong. Despite the inaccurate stereotype, just as many women as men die of heart disease each year in the United States. In fact, 1 in 3 female deaths can be attributed to heart disease and stroke. In a startling comparison, research actually shows that, after a heart attack, 1 in 4 women will die within the first year whereas 1 in 5 men face the same danger. Statistically, no one is safe from heart disease, but there are ways that we can limit the fatalities.
We can change the facts simply through awareness. It is estimated that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented by education and lifestyle modifications. “When it comes to beating heart disease and stroke, change can be the cure.” The American Heart Association (AHA) acknowledged the power of symbolism and took action by coining the first Friday each February as National Wear Red Day®.
On this special day, women and men are encouraged to wear red, raise their voices, know their risk for cardiovascular problems and take action in order to live longer, healthier and happier lives! So this year, be sure to grab your red gear and get out there to spread the word. Whether you choose to rock red high tops, red pumps, a classic red dress, your favorite red tee or a timeless red tie, remember why you are donning the bright hue.
Ever since 2003, which kicked off the very first National Wear Red Day®, women have begun to change the odds in the battle against heart disease. It is because of the dedication to increase awareness and boost heart health education that we can proudly boast that nearly 90 percent of women have made at least one healthy behavior change. Through everyday lifestyle changes, women can lower their risk of heart disease.
Lifestyle Modifications that Could Save your Heart and your Life
- Get On Your Feet: We hear it over and over again—exercise is the best medicine; you need to exercise; workout at least three times a week—but over and over again, we still don’t get the right amount of physical activity we need. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 70 percent of Americans do not get the exercise they really need.
- Eat Healthier: I can hear you sighing all the way from here, but it’s true. Maintaining a healthy diet is essential to keeping your heart happy. That means put down the trans fats and halt the salt!
- Control that Cholesterol: Why does cholesterol matter? What does it even do? To keep it simple, when you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages. It is these very blockages that can lead to heart disease, strokes and heart attacks.
- Hyperaware about Hypertension: High blood pressure is one of the key risk factors for heart disease and stroke. It is essential to learn more about the deadly effects of hypertension and to hear the best ways to control your blood pressure.
- Monitor your Blood Sugar: By keeping your glucose in check, you lower your chances of diabetes. While it is possible to live a full and healthy life with diabetes, fluctuating glucose greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Trim Off the Edges: Every single day, we hear people saying they want to lose weight, and while body shaming is never okay, trying to get to a healthy weight is very important for your heart. If you have an unhealthy amount of fat, you are at a higher risk for hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes, but don’t worry, you are anything but alone. More than 2/3 of the United States is overweight and nearly 100 percent of Americans wish they were thinner.
- Kick the Butts: Smoking is the number one preventable killer in the world. When it comes to your heart, nothing is deadlier. So lose the cigarettes and help your heart.
- Know Yourself: In order to improve your health, you need to know where you stand currently. The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association have created an online assessment called My Life Check to find out what aspects of your life need improvement.
With these lifestyle modifications, you can singlehandedly lower the stats. Tackling a major health issue like heart disease can feel impossible! It can feel like there is no way that you can do something yourself. But you can! Raise awareness in your social circles, talk to your friends and family, teach people that heart disease is not a “man’s disease” and wear red!
Far too many diseases are stereotyped to only affect men; heart disease is just one of the many conditions that is wrongly assumes that men are the only target. A few others include Alzheimer’s, COPD and sleep apnea. Change the world by breaking barriers—one disease at a time.