healthIssue 27

How is Your Heart

By Noel Daniel

Heart disease and stroke kill more women than cancer does.

It’s a scary statistic, isn’t it? One in three women die to heart disease and stroke. That’s why the American Heart Association embarked on a national movement to end the illnesses, it’s called Go Red for Women. And there’s some good news, too: 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

Going Red is simple on its surface, but vastly beneficial in the long run. A woman who Goes Red: follows an exercise routine, eats a healthier diet, visits the doctor for important tests, and speaks to others about heart health.

Go Red for Women inspires women to make lifestyle changes, mobilize communities, and shape policies to save lives. United, we are working to improve the health of all women.

In the past, heart disease and heart attack have been predominantly associated with men. Historically, men have been the subjects of the research done to understand heart disease and stroke, which has been the basis for treatment guidelines and programs.

Women have only rarely been regarded as a specific group in cardiac studies, and so their awareness of the risk is far lower. In fact, only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is the number one killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. Both were news to me!

But it isn’t too late to change. The Go Red for Women movement works to make sure women know they are at risk so they can take action to protect their health. They raise funds to help women by offering educational programs to advance women’s understanding about the risk heart disease poses. For example, the Go Red Heart CheckUp has engaged more than 2 million women to learn their risk of heart disease.

Funds raised by Go Red for Women activities also support research to discover scientific knowledge about heart health. This science is turned into materials and tools that healthcare providers and decision-makers can use to help women. In fact, more than 200,000 healthcare provider offices have received critical patient information on women and heart disease.

If nothing else, women who Go Red are just healthier. Nearly 90 percent have made at least one healthy behavior change, with more than one-third of them losing weight because more than 50 percent have increased their exercise and six out of 10 women have changed their diets.

When you get involved in supporting Go Red for Women by advocating, fundraising, and sharing your story, more lives are saved. Cardiovascular disease death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years. Together we can bring that number even higher. Don’t miss the Modesto Go Red for Women luncheon on May 12 at Modesto Centre Plaza.

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