If you want to make weekend plans that make a difference, look no further than the Lorain County Heart Walk taking place May 17 at Avon Commons (Click here for a map).
Despite great strides in medical advancements and life expectancy, heart disease remains the number one killer of women in the United States. Once thought of as a “man’s disease,” gender specific studies on health disease have only been around since the 1990s. Still, more women than men die of heart disease every year and—even with significant improvement in awareness—many women are still not aware of their risk factors.
You might find yourself pretty bombarded with hearts this month. In addition to chocolate-covered Valentine’s Day hearts, it’s also Heart Month and February is the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign. To put it mildly, February is a great time to focus on your heart and how you can take better care of yourself.
However, simply saying “I’m going to take better care of my heart this month” is a bit vague and makes it difficult to gauge success. To help kick off your heart month goals, we compiled a list of five simple and easy changes you can make to put your heart health first this February.
- Get Moving: If you aren’t someone who exercises regularly, be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any formal exercise regime, but in the meantime, make an effort to move a little more. Whether it’s taking a walk, dancing in your kitchen, or dusting off the stationary bike in your garage, cardiovascular activity is great for your heart.
- Go Green: A total revamping of your diet might feel like a lot of pressure, so start small. Choose a serving of vegetables in place of another less heart healthy food is a great swap that can start a chain reaction of making better food choices.
- Visit Your Doctor: If you’ve fallen behind on your check-ups, make February the month you schedule an appointment. Your doctor can give you a clear picture of where you stand in your heart health and advice on how to achieve your goals.
- Take Time to De-stress: If the stress of a new year has started to weigh on you already, make sure you take time for activities that help lower your stress level. Relax with a book, meet up with friends, or take up yoga.
- Sleep More: Getting the proper amount of sleep is something that often easily slips off of the priority list, so make a conscious effort to turn in a little earlier this month.
It’s pretty common to see a lot of red during the month of February, but all the credit doesn’t go to Valentine’s Day cards and candy. This year, amidst celebrating with your sweetie, take some time to also appreciate your heart. Help raise awareness for the number one killer of women—heart disease—and join The American Heart Association in their tenth year of Go Red For Women.
What is Go Red For Women?
First launched in 2004, Go Red for Women was created to educate women on their risk and the dangers of heart disease, as well as foster community, awareness and support. It also aimed to increase funding for research and treatments in hopes of lowering the high numbers of women killed by heart disease.
In the past ten years, Go Red has made big strides in the fight against heart disease for women. A few statistics (from their website) of the changes they’ve made:
- 21% fewer women are dying of heart disease
- 23% more women are aware that heart disease is the number one threat to women’s health.
- More women specific guidelines for prevention and treatment
The knowledge that CPR helps save lives certainly isn’t new, but a study presented in November at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions sought to explore just how long and to what degree CPR could help cardiac arrest patients. Since the majority of cardiac arrests—around 80%—occur outside of the hospital, the significance of lifesaving techniques is of particular interest.
This study, completed by the Department of Cardiology, CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care at Surugadai Nihon University Hospital in Tokyo, examined data collected from non-hospital cardiac arrests in Japan happening between 2005 and 2011. The researchers compared the survivors’ brain function with how much time passed between their initial collapse and the return of normal blood flow.