Friday, February 22, 2013

Blog Your Heart Out

Where did February go? I can't believe it's already the last Friday of the month. It seems like it was just last week that I was wearing red for National Go Red for Women Day.

My month was filled with lots of fun, but it didn't quite go according to plan.

I'd hoped to consistently ride my bike to work everyday.

But then it got cold again I got lazy. 

I'd hoped to share random facts about heart disease at the end of every post.

But then I always seemed to forget until after I'd hit publish.

While I still won't likely ride my bike into work this morning, I can take a few moments to share some things I've learned about heart disease since today is...

Blog Your Heart Out

I may have had some family member suffer from heart disease, but no one instantly comes to mind. I think that can be the scariest thing about heart disease - while it is somewhat hereditary, it isn't entirely so.
Even if you’re a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend, your risk for heart disease isn’t completely eliminated. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. And while you’re at it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood pressure at your next check-up.

Personally, my eating habits aren't exactly where they should be. I know I need to work on this. I know that leading an active lifestyle is really only part of the equation of being healthy, but I've found that changing my eating habits is much, much more difficult that changing my activity level.

You can start small. Here are a few tips. I hope to try harder to incorporate these into my life as well.
Stock up on heart healthy fruits and vegetables. And if fresh doesn’t work with your schedule or habits, remember you can get frozen or canned. Just be sure to rinse canned fruits and vegetables, as they may contain added salts and sugars.

Eat seasonally. Good for your budget and waistline, eating seasonally means you are getting food at its peak performance and flavor level.

Drink more water.

Eat more fiber. Whole grains are filled with fiber, which makes digestion easier and helps you feel fuller when you’re done eating – both key factors in weight management.

If you're reading this, you're likely someone who is at least interested in running or maintaining an active lifestyle. You probably eat relatively well, too. Or least better than most Americans. As hard as I am on myself for my eating habits, I know that I am better off than most. I just know I can do better. Where I'm going with all this is we're probably at a lower risk of heart disease in general because of our lifestyles, but, as mentioned previously, it doesn't mean we're in the clear.
90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease claims the lives of one in three. That’s roughly one death each minute.

Spreading awareness is a great way to try and help lower that statistic. So, let me ask you. What is the first thing you think of when I say heart attack?

Raise your hand if you thought extreme chest pain.

That's because that's so often what is portrayed in the media, but in reality the symptoms can look a lot different in women.
Women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.

Wow. I really had no idea!

I know there was a lot in this post, but I hope you made it through. Please join me in the Go Red for Women movement, and remember to take time to STOP.
S: stop what you are doing,
T: take a few deep breaths,
O: observe your body and smile,
P: proceed with kindness and compassion.

If you learned even one thing in the post, please share this with your loved ones. Or just click that little Tweet button and help raise awareness on Twitter.


All quotes and statistics are from the goredforwomen.org website.

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10 comments:

  1. Great post - I'm with you there. I have about 89 red dress pins left over from one year that I gave them out. And I keep missing the wear red day by at least a week or so. But hey, it's an ongoing message that needs to be put out there, right? ;)

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  2. Great info. Heart disease is so insidious.

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  3. That's a lot of great info and considering my family history, things I should really know. Thanks!

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    1. You're welcome, Stasy. Be sure and visit goredforwomen.org for more information and tips.

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  4. Grr, the internet ate my comment. Wonderful post Clarinda! People always need reminding to control the risk factors that they can.

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