Last Friday was National Red Day, where men and women across the country rocked their favorite red outfits to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease in women.
The disease is the number 1 cause of death among women, and the American Heart Association has some tips people can follow to take charge of their heart health:
- Know Your Risk. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, which is why knowing your risk is critical to preventing cardiovascular disease. And knowing your risk starts with knowing your numbers. Five numbers, that all women should know to take control of their heart health are: Total Cholesterol, HDL (good) Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Body Max Index (BMI). These five numbers can change your life.
- Understand Risk Factors. There are some you can control like blood pressure, smoking, cholesterol, lack of regular physical activity, and some you can’t control like age, gender, and family history. That’s why it is important to learn your Family History and discuss all risk factors with your healthcare provider.
- Take Action and Manage Your Numbers. Schedule a separate visit with your healthcare provider to learn these numbers and commit them to memory. Work to improve your numbers, if necessary. If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), high cholesterol, high blood sugar, diabetes or other conditions that put you at greater risk, it’s very important to work with your health care team and make lifestyle changes. Many conditions can be prevented or managed by eating better, getting active, losing weight and quitting tobacco.
- Know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack and Stroke – You could save your life. Heart attack and stroke are life-or-death emergencies — every second counts. If you think you or someone you’re with has any symptoms of heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage. Fast Action can save lives.
- Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack. While there are many similarities in the symptoms of heart disease in men and women, there are even more differences – differences that could save, or end your life if you don’t know them. So before you pass that jaw pain off as the result of sleeping funny or lightheadedness as something a snack or rest can fix, learn the symptoms. And don’t ignore them.
For more on how to live with a healthy heart, visit GoRedforWomen.org