Heart disease is the most fatal disease in the United States for both men and women, claiming over 800,000 lives each year. More women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer combined.
Last fall, we wrote this post about how you can find your target heart rate to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workout. We used the same formula that doctors use to find your maximum heart rate (220 – your age = Maximum Heartbeats per minute) and suggested you shoot for 50-85% of that rate when undertaking a cardio workout. The same formula is currently used to determine the level at which patients need to work out during the familiar treadmill stress test that evaluates their heart health.
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
Whether it is pop culture or family history or just lack of information, many people think of heart disease as a male concern. This could not be further from the truth. Women suffer from heart disease just as men do and the perception that women don’t may be keeping them from monitoring their heart health.
A Fox News affiliate reports that:
"According to the North American Menopause Society, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women age 65 and older and is the second leading cause of death among women ages 45 to 64 in the United States and Canada."
For women, the risk factors for heart disease include: smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, and a family history of the disease.
These risk factors may not be all that different from those in men, but the indications of heart disease differ between women and men. Some of the signs of heart disease in women may seem to be connected to health issues other than heart disease so women may be recognize they are at risk. For a women feeling nauseous, very tired, experiencing indigestion, and feeling pain in the neck, jaw, or back can be signs or heart disease.
Once women reach menopause it is important that the have their blood pressure and cholesterol checked. They also need to be checked for diabetes. If you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, you need to monitor your health carefully. If you think you have one of the symptoms of heart disease, you shouldn't ignore it. Discuss it with your primary doctor in case he or she thinks you need to see a cardiologist for further evaluation.
According to a study published in American Heart Association’s Circulation journal, women who eat at least three servings of strawberries and blueberries every week may have their heart attack risk reduced by up to one-third.
Strawberries and blueberries are excellent sources of dietary flavonoids. One type of flavonoids known as anthocyanins can promote the dilation of arteries, prevent or reduce plaque buildup, and provide other heart healthy benefits. Other foods that contain flavonoids include eggplant, blackberries, grapes and wine, and other vegetables and fruits.