Take Care of Your Heart – GO RED!
Our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends are at risk. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, which is more than all cancers combined. Go Red For Women® is an initiative started more than 10 years ago when the American Heart Association learned that more women were dying from heart disease than men. Today this large movement is making a big difference by increasing awareness of the risks of heart disease and stroke!
“Awareness and education are the key to lifestyle changes,” says Michele Bever, executive director for South Heartland District Health Department (SHDHD). “Eighty percent (80%) of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.”
Friday, February 5, 2016, and throughout the month of February, SHDHD encourages you to wear red to be a part of the movement that is making a difference in the health of women in our communities.
Bever says “Since the first National Wear Red Day, research and education on healthy lifestyles is making a tremendous difference. Nationwide, we have learned that, among women:
-Nearly 90% have made at least one healthy behavior change.
-More than one-third has lost weight.
-More than 50% have increased their exercise.
-6 out of 10 have changed their diets.
-More than 40% have checked their cholesterol levels.
-One third has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
-Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day.
-Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.”
So what does GO RED stand for?
G-Get your numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.
O-Own your lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, be physically active and eat healthy.
R-Raise your voice: Advocate for more women-related research and education.
E-Educate your family: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
D-Donate: Show your support of heart health with a donation of time or money to a healthy lifestyle cause.
It is important for South Heartland area residents to follow this advice. Bever also notes “Let’s look at the blood pressure and cholesterol numbers for the South Heartland District Health Department area (Adams, Clay, Nuckolls and Webster Counties). Alarmingly, 36% of adults have hypertension (high blood pressure). High blood pressure is a leading risk factor contributing to heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol is another contributing risk factor. In our area, 43% of adults have been told by their health care provider that they have high cholesterol.”
Bever goes on to say “It’s common for people to have either high blood pressure or high cholesterol and not even know it because there are often no symptoms. But high blood pressure and high cholesterol can be prevented for many people. Lifestyle change and/or lifelong medications, with frequent follow up visits to your healthcare provider, are the only ways to combat having a future heart attack or stroke. Making changes now could prevent stroke or heart attacks.”
Elizabeth Hardy APRN, chronic disease prevention coordinator for SHDHD states “Here are 6 key steps to having a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. 1) Eat healthy, focusing on fruits and vegetables and low sodium; 2) Exercise with a goal of 150 minutes a week; 3) Keep weight in a healthy range; 4) Stop smoking if you smoke, avoid secondhand smoke; 5) Limit alcohol use; 6) Know your numbers for blood pressure and cholesterol and, if they are elevated, get them treated.”
“This year for heart month we want to promote a ‘self-check’ to remember that little things can have a big impact on your health,” Hardy states. ”You are responsible for that healthy body. If you realize you’re not meeting all of the healthy lifestyle goals, it’s normal to not expect perfection overnight. Pick one lifestyle goal to work on. Make that your ‘self-check’ and personally note it daily. Work on it. Try to meet that goal, so that your body is healthier and less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. An example might be 5 fruits and vegetables every day. Once you have met that goal and you are confident you will maintain it, move to another ‘self-check’ goal to work on.”
One in every three people will die from a heart attack or stroke and the risk is 80% preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Making healthy changes can lead to a long, healthy life. So, wear red today and continue to promote heart health this month and all year! To learn more visit the American Heart Association website (www.heart.org).
For more information on this topic and a variety of other health-related issues, you can contact South Heartland District Health Department by visitingwww.southheartlandhealth.org or calling toll free at 1-877-238-7595.
Michele M. Bever, PhD, MPH
South Heartland District Health Department
606 N. Minnesota Ave, Suite 2
Hastings, NE 68901