Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Go Red For Women: Building Awareness to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease in Women

The American Heart Association (AHA) has declared 02.04.11 as National Wear Red Day to help in their campaign to build awareness and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in women. 
Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women. But did you know more women die of cardiovascular disease and stroke than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer? Did you also know that 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease, which if controlled could reduce their risk?
[Source: Ralph L. Sacco, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN, President, AHA]
It's personal for me. Not only do I have a genetic blood clotting disorder called Factor V Leiden,  causing my blood to have the propensity to clot which only increases with age, my paternal grandmother, for whom I was very close to, died at a very young age due to complications occurring after open heart surgery. She was only 58. I have come to find out that heart disease and stroke has afflicted many of the women and men in my family- most likely the No. 1 killer of the women in my family.

That's why it has become one of my missions in life to help spread awareness of heart disease and stroke, and to help fund research that fuels the development of treatments and recommendations to prevent heart disease and stroke, as well as medications and surgical innovations for my family and the countless other families out there suffering from this highly preventable disease.  It's also one of the reasons I started Joy of Fitness- to help women and children live active, healthy lifestyles, one of the major ways of preventing heart disease and stroke.

For the second year in a row, I have decided to join the ranks of thousands of individuals, organizations, businesses and schools across the U.S. to help the AHA help women!  I fully support and love what the AHA is doing to spread the word about heart disease and stroke as well as raise and fund cardiovascular research. In the past, AHA-funded research has contributed to such lifesaving discoveries as CPR, pacemakers, bypass surgery, artificial heart valves and microsurgery.

I encourage you to join me in leaving a legacy of health and wellness for our mothers and daughters, our sisters and grandmothers, our best friends, colleagues and women everywhere.

Ways to Go Red:
  • Get active. Stay active. Enjoy active. There are so many ways in this busy world we live in to eat healthy and exercise. You just need to make it a priority, a part of the routine, so it becomes a habit not a chore. See 10 Ways to Love Your Heart below.
  • Help spread the word by talking with your families. Find out your family medical history, write it down and keep it safe for future generations. Print out and use the AHA Medical Family History Tree template on the home page of this blog at your next doctor's visit.
  • Get an annual physical. Here's why: Let's Get a Physical, Physical.  Print out and use the AHA Questions To Ask Your Doctor template found on the home page of this blog at your next doctor's visit.
  • Purchase Joy of Fitness reusable bags and workout shirts at the Joy of Fitness Zazzle store.  I will donate all the proceeds from purchases made January through Febraury.  I will let you know end of February what the final number is and write a check out to the AHA. Promise! I can provide a receipt for tax purposes as well, just email me at shannon.joyoffitness@gmail.com.
  • I am compiling recipes for a Go Red for Women Cookbook to be sold locally (DC Metro Area) at schools, churches, synagogues, moms groups, and so on. 100% of proceeds will go to the AHA Go Red Campaign to fund cardiovascular disease research. If you or your group is interested in sending a recipe(s) that contains red food or drink items (for example, 10 Foods In Red.), please email me your recipe(s) and story/tribute for the recipe(s). For more details: shannon.joyoffitness.gmail.com.   
10 Ways to Love Your Heart (from the AHA website)

  • 1. Be active: AHA recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.
  • 2.  Eat smart: Enjoy a diet low in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat, and rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains, and monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.
  • 3.  Don’t smoke: Talk to your healthcare provider about smoking cessation programs in your area.  Many are free!
  • 4.  Know your numbers: Write down your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and body mass index. Discuss with your doctor healthy numbers for you and how to help keep your heart healthy. 
  • 5.  De-stress: Stress can cause us to overeat, be sedentary or engage in other health-risk behaviors like smoking, all of which can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Take control of stress by meditating, writing in a journal or going for a brisk walk.
  • 6.  Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Losing even a small amount of weight can help to decrease your risk.
  • 7.  Evaluate your risk: Age, gender, race/ethnicity, family history and other medical conditions can all increase your risk of developing heart disease. Know which factors affect you and what you can do to reduce them.
  • 8.  Listen to your heart: When warning signs pop up, pay attention to them. By visiting a doctor early, your chances of avoiding a serious condition increase. 
  • 9.  Know the facts: Read up on heart disease. By knowing about the culprit, you will be better prepared to help prevent and fight it. Visit GoRedForWomen.org for more information. 
  • 10.  Follow up regularly: Keep track of your heart health and risk factors by visiting your doctor regularly for medical checkups. 
Be active. Be Happy!

No comments: