05 Feb Celebrate Your Heart In February And Year Round
In February we celebrate our hearts and sweethearts! We all know Valentines day and, increasingly, word is getting out about National Wear Red Day for Women on the 6th. In fact the whole month is devoted to lifting awareness about our hearts. Our discussions about: heart health, heart-felt feelings, heart healthy foods, and heart risks this month are all about the actions we need to take in life to balance the needs of our hearts with the demands of our day. Whether it’s remembering the roses or picking up heart healthy foods for dinner February reminds us to nurture everything that makes our heart beat.
Why is an entire month devoted to lifting awareness about heart health and heart risks? Because stroke and heart attack is the number one killer of American men and women. More people are dying of heart disease today than of all types of cancer. 1 in 4 people die from heart disease every year and over half a million will experience their first heart attack by year’s end. That’s why the Million Hearts Initiative was launched in 2011 with a goal to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. But the fact is that neither government initiatives nor your doctor can prevent heart disease. Your heart and your life choices are yours. In the video below a 55 year old woman explains how she realized the connection between her life problems and the care of her heart and decided to make a change.
Like us, our hearts work hard. They beat about 100,000 times a day. Hearts needs healthy food, a little exercise, family and friends, and a good night’s rest. You may crave chocolates or ice cream on Valentines day but year round the heart thrives on limited dairy and foods low in saturated fats to stay strong. Hearts enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables, fish more than meats, whole grains and moderate salt. Give your heart an extra boost by walking to the grocery store to buy those fresh foods or take a long walk after dinner. Eating well and getting regular activity are primary ways to strengthen the heart and lower your risks.
Is your heart in distress? Symptoms of heart disease or heart attack vary between the sexes. Women often ignore concerning symptoms until it’s too late fearing the unknown, thinking symptoms are caused by something else, or prioritizing work or care of others over personal health. Every minute today a woman will die of heart disease. Risk varies between ethnicities. African American women are at twice the risk of stroke as Caucasians. Nearly 50% of African American women 20 or older have heart disease! Just over 1/3rd realize it. As much as women need to reduce risk through diet and exercise women also need to realize that personal health is paramount. Without personal health it’s impossible to care for family and loved ones…it’s impossible to break through glass ceilings at work.