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As startling as it is, heart disease is the number one killer of women, and with February being American Heart Month, it is important to be aware of its causes as well as to take the necessary precautions to be in your best health. Below are a few statistics from the Center for Disease Control and the Women’s Heart Foundation regarding heart disease:
1) Heart disease accounts for 1 out of every 4 deaths each year.
2) The most common type of heart disease is coronary artery disease, which is caused by
atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries.
3) Close to one million Americans suffer from a heart attack each year, with two-thirds of them
being the first occurrence.
4) Smoking women risk suffering from a heart attack 19 years earlier than non-smoking women.
5) Women are more likely to die following a heart bypass surgery compared to men.
6) A woman younger than 50 years old who suffers from a heart attack is more likely to die
compared to men.
7) Women are more likely to die within a year of having a heart attack compared to men.
8) African-American and Hispanic women are at a greater risk of suffering from heart disease than
Lowering your risk of heart disease doesn’t have to be a difficult task to take on. Simple lifestyle changes such as the ones below can make all the difference in improving your heart health.
1) Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day, working to include cardiovascular, resistance, and flexibility exercises.
2) Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, making each a key part of your
3) Lower your intake of red meat, and choose healthier options such as lean chicken, lean
turkey and fish.
4) Limit the amount of saturated fats, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium in your diet. Make it a normal practice to check the nutritional facts on all of your food purchases.
5) Drink plenty of water, and cut back on sodas and sugary drinks.
6) Reduce your alcohol intake and smoking habits, as both increase your risk of heart disease.
7) Lower your stress levels by finding quality time for you and getting adequate sleep.
8) Listen to your body. If you begin to experience any pain or symptom which is abnormal, immediately contact your physician or call 9-1-1.
As women, we sometimes carry the world on our shoulders, causing us to forget about our own health and problems. During the month of February commit to making a few modifications which will add both quality and years to your life, and motivate other women to do the same. With the support and encouragement of each other, together we can all be strong.
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