By Christian Dischler
Heart disease, including stroke, takes a woman’s life almost every 80 seconds. To put this into perspective, that accounts for approximately 1 out of every 5 female deaths each year, and is the overall leading cause of death for African American and white women in the US. It’s a staggering number that continues impacting women often after it’s too late. Despite these overwhelming statistics, there’s encouraging news. With proactive education and preventative actions, about 80 percent of cardiovascular deaths in women can be prevented.
Going Red for Women
Across the nation women are banding together to continue fighting fatal heart disease, and bring helpful education to the forefront of important conversations. Go Red for Women was founded by the American Heart Association in an effort to raise more awareness about heart disease in women. Their goal has been to provide resources for women and dispel the myth that heart disease primarily affects older men. Go Red believes that women can band together to bring their passion, commitment and wisdom into a powerful space, where heart disease is discussed openly, but more importantly addressed properly.
Knowing your risks
One popular misconception is that the symptoms and risks are the same as they are for men. The truth is that they’re different for everyone, and Go Red helps inform women how they can stay educated on knowing their risks. These factors don’t discriminate based on age, family history, race or previous cardiovascular traumas. However, you can still mitigate further risks by prioritizing habits that coincide with a healthy lifestyle. When you have high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, smoke, don’t exercise or are overweight, your risk for heart disease is increased. By making even modest adjustments to these risk factors and encouraging a healthier lifestyle, your risk for heart disease plummets almost 80 percent. It’s important to remain positive and focus on the factors we can change, while not getting caught up in what we can’t change.
Go Red has three foundational pillars for pursuing a healthier lifestyle in order to not only reduce risk of heart disease, but to inspire confidence and maintain a better version of yourself.
• Eat Smart. We all have different taste when it comes to food, but it’s critical to eat healthier and build better grocery or takeout habits. Allow yourself space for indulgence, but take small steps towards limiting those riskier meals.
• Move More. There’s a lot of myths surrounding exercise these days, but the truth is that every little movement is helpful. Finding the kind of movement that makes you happy and fits your lifestyle is crucial to developing the healthy habits that will make lasting change. Keep in mind, walking is highly underrated and just as important as more intense cardio.
• Be Well. Don’t let the recent rise of mindfulness practices in the mainstream dissuade you. There’s a reason meditation, good sleep, connecting with others, living in the moment, work-life balance and stress reduction are so popular. They work! Prioritize your mental health, and your body will follow.
How To Get Involved
Heart disease’s biggest ally is inactivity. By getting up, getting out and getting involved you immediately begin to help women all over the world strive for a better, longer life. Women like you are the reason we’ll win the war against heart disease, and Go Red For Women provides countless opportunities to join the fight.
February is American Heart Month, and the first Friday Americans come together to wear red in solidarity of heart disease awareness. It’s a unifying moment, and millions of people show their support in the community. There are also Go Red events happening all over the country, which means you don’t have to make a long trip to get involved, find support or provide help to others.
Whether national events or local fundraisers, there’s a place for you.
By helping more women avoid heart disease and its untimely outcome, you’re allowing them to continue pursuing their dreams. The leaders, experts, scientists and innovators this world needs more of could be the life you help save.
To donate to Go Red For Women or get involved and learn more, visit their website GoRedForWomen.org.