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Heart Disease: America’s #1 Killer of Women

By at January 24, 2011 | 12:00 pm | Print

Heart Disease: America’s #1 Killer of Women

Heart Disease: America’s #1 Killer of Women
By Nurse Kimberly

 

 

Next month on February 4, 2011 women everywhere will be wearing the color red. Why? Because it is National Wear Red Day. It’s a day when we can show support for women’s heart disease awareness. For the past two years I have worked as a nurse in the intensive care unit. I am always shocked at how young some of the female patients admitted after a heart attack are.

 

Recently, I read an article by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute that claimed one of every four women in this country die from heart disease. It went on to reveal that heart disease is the number one killer of women in this country.

 

So what is Coronary Heart Disease?

CHD is caused by a build up of plaque in your coronary arteries. These are the arteries in your heart. What is plaque? It is a substance composed of fat, cholesterol, and other things found in the blood. Over time the plaque builds up. Think of a clogged bathroom sink. The water cannot drain through the pipe because somewhere inside the pipe there is a build up of residue ( hair, play toys, dirt, etc.). Arteries have blood flowing through them to supply all of our vital organs and tissues. If one of the arteries becomes clogged, like the bathroom pipe, there will be damage done to the heart and body. Sometimes the damage is irreversible. The build up of plaque within the arteries can lead to blood clots, heart attacks, and even strokes.

 

The American Heart Association says some women think that Cancer is more of a threat that Heart Disease. The AHA says that is absolutely not true. Women should be concerned and know the risk factors for developing heart disease. Some risk factors such as genetics, age, gender, health history, and race cannot be avoided. However, you can make lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

 

High blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking tobacco, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol intake, and diabetes mellitus were just some of the risk factors for heart disease the AHA mentioned in a recent article.

 

So what can women do to help reduce their risk for becoming victims of the number one killer of women in this country? Based on the risk factors that women have control over it seems that taking care of your body is your best shot.

 

Tip #1: Try to make an effort to participate in some sort of physical activity for at least 30 minutes everyday. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car in the furthest parking spot instead of right by the entrance. Turn on the radio and dance for thirty minutes right when you get home from work. Play tag or soccer with your kids outside.

 

Tip#2: Be aware of what you eat. Eating a diet rich in high sodium foods and greasy fast food on a regular basis can directly impact your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Learn what foods are healthy for you to eat if you don’t already know. And if you are not at a healthy weight make a plan today to reach a healthy plate. Use the My Family Plate Getting Started Resources to help. Do something now this is your life!

 

Tip#3: Make an appointment with your physician. Sometimes we take our health for granted. However, you should know your cholesterol levels, monitor your blood pressure, and be aware of your body max index. If you take initiative to monitor these things you could help prevent heart disease from happening to you.

 

We always think heart attacks, strokes, and type 2 diabetes “won’t happen to us”. Statistics don’t lie. Two out of every three women who have a heart attack FAIL to make a full recovery. Help celebrate National Wear Red Day by learning about your own health and risk factors for heart disease. Go a step further and challenge a friend to do the same. And as always share your thoughts, feedback, and red dress comments below.

 

Supporting women with heart disease everywhere,
Nurse Kimberly  

 

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