February is American Heart Month

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(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for American Heart Association)

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for American Heart Association)

February is American Heart Month, drawing attention to heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer, and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates. The American Heart Association and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by considering some of the following statistics throughout the month of February…

REASONS TO BELIEVE

  1. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women age 20 and over, but it is largely preventable.
  1. Stroke is the No. 4 killer and a leading cause of disability in the United States.  Each year, about 795,000 Americans have a new or repeat stroke (1 every 40 seconds).
  1. Wearing red is a simple, powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke.  Submit your ‘Wear Red Day’ pictures from Feb. 3rd to www.facebook.com/AmericanHeartSTL for a chance to win a Wii Gaming System.
  1. The facts are clear. More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Unfortunately, the killer isn’t as easy to see. Heart disease is often silent, hidden and misunderstood.
  1. The truth is: our lives are in our hands. We can stop our No. 1 killer (heart disease) together by sharing the truth. We can be the difference between life and death.  Uncover the truth about heart disease and make ending it a reality at GoRedForWomen.org.
  1. Currently, some eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  1. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, one in three dies of cardiovascular disease.
  1. If you or someone you know shows signs of heart attack or stroke, call 9-1-1 right away. An Emergency Medical Services (EMS) team can begin treatment when it arrives. That means treatment can begin sooner than it would if the patient arrived at the hospital by car. What’s more, the EMS team is also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped, which saves hundreds of lives each year.
  1. If you’re a survivor, you can share your experiences with heart disease and provide support to another woman.  Learn more about the Go Red Heart Match program at GoRedForWomen.org
  1. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  1. Heart disease can be prevented. In fact, research shows that 80 percent of cardiac events in women may be prevented if women make the right choices for their hearts, involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking. You can make changes to help stop heart disease by knowing your number, visiting your doctor once a year, getting 30 minutes of exercise daily, quitting smoking and eating healthy.
  1. Only 43 percent of African American women and 44 percent of Hispanic women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk, compared with 60 percent of white women.
  1. You can choose to speak up, not remain silent. Support legislation that would improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and stroke.  Become a You’re The Cure Advocate at www.yourethecure.org
  1. Too many lives have and will be cut short from heart disease and its risk factors; however, early detection, lifestyle changes, and other intervention can improve certain conditions.
  1. You and your loved ones can choose to beat heart disease this year. Whether it’s eating healthier, exercising more, reducing your cholesterol, or quitting smoking, and turn your personal choices into life-saving actions.
  1. To start eating healthier, consider planning meals in advance – visit heart.org for recipes from a number of heart-healthy cookbooks and use the online grocery list builder to quickly identify heart-healthy products to add to your grocery list.
  1. In women, heart disease is too often a silent killer – less than a third of women in a recent survey reported any early warning signs such as chest pain or discomfort before a heart attack, compared with most men.
  1. Total estimated direct & indirect cost of CVD in U.S. in 2011: $286.6 billion. Total est. cost of cancer: $228 billion.
  1. You can learn where you stand on the road to good health in just seven simple steps: physical activity, weight management, healthy eating, not smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose. Get personal health score and action plan at mylifecheck.org.
  1. Only slightly more than half of women are likely to call 911 if experiencing symptoms. And yet, 79 percent of women said that they would call 911 if someone else was having a heart attack.
  1. One of the best ways to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease is to start getting regular, moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.
  1. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, causing someone to gasp dramatically, clutch their heart and drop to the ground. No one has any doubts about what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.
  1. American Heart Association funds are used for critical life-saving research and education. American Heart Association funded nationwide has led to advances such as CPR, life-extending drugs, pacemakers, bypass surgery, the heart-lung machine and surgical techniques to repair heart defects.
  1. By adding one hour of regular, vigorous physical activity, adults may gain up to two hours of life expectancy.  Start thinking about your heart by including more physical activity into your daily routine. Take a walk, ride a bike or take the stairs.
  1. You can take control and change your life today.  Explore  Go Red BetterU, the FREE 12-week online fitness and nutrition makeover that can change your life.  GoRedForWomen.org
  1. The American Heart Association is second only to the federal government as a source of funding for cardiovascular and stroke research.
  1. During a heart check up, your doctor takes a careful look at your “numbers,” including your cholesterol and triglyceride levels, your blood pressure and more. Knowing your numbers is an important part of keeping your heart-healthy. It can help you and your doctor know your risks and mark the progress you’re making toward a healthier you.
  1. Smoking is the single most preventable cause of death in theUnited States. If you smoke cigarettes (or cigars), you have a higher risk of illness and death from heart attack, stroke and other diseases. So if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, love your heart and quit today. Need more motivation? Visit heart.org for help quitting smoking.
  1. Uncovering family history can help you to better understand your risk for heart disease. If you have a blood relative with heart disease or a risk factor for genetic heart disease, your risk for developing it significantly increases.

For more information, visit GoRedForWomen.org.

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