It’s National Wear Red Day! February is American Heart Health Month, and the first Friday of February is Wear Red Day, for women’s heart health in particular. All day, people seeing a bold wave of red clothing all across the country are reminded of the importance of heart health.
Why is heart health so important for women?
Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of American women. One third of our women die of cardiovascular disease. That’s about one woman every minute.
Making a difference in our heart health makes a difference in our health. Period.
Awareness of heart health is especially important because 64% of women who die suddenly from heart disease didn’t have any symptoms. 90% of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease. And the signs of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke are different for women from the signs that men encounter. Since people are generally more aware of the signs in men, women can end up missing those signs.
What can we do to reduce heart disease risk?
Wear red to help increase awareness of women’s heart health. This year, because of the pandemic, people might not see as many red styles out on the street. So why not take a selfie and share the red you’re wearing on social media?
Donate to the American Heart Association. Increased funding for research and treatment can help reduce heart disease.
There are also some steps you can take to reduce your own personal risk of heart disease:
- Exercise regularly, aiming for 150 minutes each week.
- Eat heart-healthy by increasing fruits and vegetables and decreasing saturated fat and added sugars and salt.
- Quit smoking.
- Limit alcohol — one drink a day for women.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get enough sleep.
- See your doctor to check blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides. If lifestyle changes don’t control these metrics for you, medications may do the trick.
There are some factors you can’t control. But there are so many factors you can improve, it’s worth the effort. Talk with your physician to get specific recommendations and support for your particular needs.