Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

February about more than Valentine's Day

7:06 PM, Feb. 23, 2013  |  Comments
  • Filed Under

February is heart health month, the perfect time to remind people that heart disease is the number one killer of women. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), only 1 in 5 women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat, yet it causes 1 in 3 deaths each year (that's about one woman lost every minute.)

Surprisingly, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, and many of those risk factors can be controlled or resolved with healthy lifestyle choices. Studies have shown that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying each day from heart disease. So, why can't we seem to get the word across?

Part of the reason is the number of myths that exist surrounding heart disease in women. Women generally believe that they are more likely to die from breast cancer than heart disease. Also, women often have far different symptoms than men with heart disease, and even with the typical symptoms women are much less likely to call 9-1-1 than men. For this reason, the AHA launched the Go Red for Women campaign. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, the campaign was initiated to help raise awareness of heart disease in women, as well as to empower women to take charge of their own heart health. The campaign has been instrumental in educating women about the causes of heart disease and steps for prevention. Promoting healthy lifestyles has been a cornerstone of the campaign.

What should women know about their risks? Many things can put a woman at risk for heart disease; some can be controlled and others cannot. While we cannot control our heredity, we should know our family history. Knowing the risk of developing the disorder can help women limit their other risk factors. Controllable risk factors include maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding tobacco, eating healthy, managing blood sugars, controlling blood pressure and staying active. Along with the risk factors, women should know that symptoms of heart disease may be vastly different than what she expects.

We have all seen the middle aged overweight man grabbing his chest and complaining of an elephant sitting on it, but with women often the signs are more subtle. Sometimes she will experience only feelings of gastrointestinal distress or neck discomfort, so women often miss the signs of danger.

Women need to be aware of their own bodies and seek help when something does not feel right. Empowerment is key. Have regular appointments with your health care team and challenge them to be active members in your fight against heart disease. Know your numbers and goals for your blood pressure and cholesterol. Ask questions, know your own risk factors and ask your provider what can be done to control those risks. Join the Go Red for Women campaign to help educate other women who are important in your world.

I take a special interest in women's heart health because I lost my own mother to heart disease when she was only 41. She died after her fourth heart attack due to poorly controlled blood pressure, a high-stress job and smoking. All of these things put my mother in the high-risk category, but she was never really educated about those risks. Thirty years later, I am hopeful that we can make a difference in the lives of women everywhere. I urge everyone to remember this February, that through education and empowerment, together we can fight heart disease and touch the lives of women everywhere. It's time to stand strong, live long and demand change. Go Red!

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
576 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
856 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1018 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1272 votes

Catch up on the latest in our pregame show every game day.

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports

ORDER YOURS

Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports