You love your family. You would do anything to keep them safe and healthy. What would they do without you? Probably, eat cereal for every meal, wear dirty t-shirts to school, and forget to wash behind their ears. But, seriously, what would they do if they lost you to a heart attack?
According to the American Heart Association:*
• Heart disease is the no. 1 killer of American women over age 20, claiming approximately 1 woman every minute.
• More women die of heart disease than the next five causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. In fact, 1 in 3 American women dies of heart disease.
• 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a statistic: 80% of cardiac events in women can be prevented by monitoring and managing risk factors through diet and exercise. Controllable risk factors include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking (learn more here).
You can make small lifestyle changes today that will significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. Start by setting one simple goal. Choose from the list below, or visit goredforwomen.org to find out how you can live heart healthy at any age.
• Learn the warning signs of a heart attack, and watch this video about a supermom who takes care of everyone but herself.
• Research your family’s history of diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease/heart attack. Heredity can increase your risk for developing heart disease. The more you know, the more you can do to reduce your risk.
• Find your numbers: total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose, height, weight, and waist in inches. Use these numbers to complete the Go Red Heart CheckUp. You manage what you measure, so start keeping a log.
• Try a new heart-healthy recipe, or adapt one of your own using heart-smart substitutions.
• Increase your physical activity: recruit a walking buddy, try an exercise band routine, enroll in a workout class, or go outside and play with your kids.
I asked Ella friends to share what they’re doing to become heart healthy and reduce their risk of heart disease. I was amazed and inspired by their commitment, and I hope you will be, too. If you’ve made changes—or plan to—leave a comment so we can cheer you on!
Album Pages by Kelly VanDerMolen [click for larger view]
Kelly started this album to document her experience training for a walking half-marathon.
Layout by Elizabeth Dillow [click for larger view]
Elizabeth designed this layout as a reminder of the risk factor she inherited and her reasons for keeping it in check.
Layout by Christa Paustenbaugh [click for larger view]
Christa and her husband started running for sport, but they keep running to set a good example for their children.
Layout by Melissa Gener [click for larger view]
Melissa, a doctor and mother of two, started a weight-loss program three years ago and has lost over 58 lbs. She will be running her first 5K in March.
Layout by Robyn Schaub [click for larger view]
After almost giving up, Robyn signed up for a weight-loss program at work and has lost almost 35 lbs. She feels healthier, happier, and more confident, and she's proud of the example she's setting for her girls.
Layout by Audrey Neal [click for larger view]
Audrey's layout reflects on her father's early passing and shares the motivation she feels to keep her heart strong so she'll be around to see her daughters grow up.
Journal by Grace Tolman [click for larger view]
Grace created this health journal to track her important numbers and keep track of her goals.
Tomorrow is National Wear Red Day! Help raise awareness about heart disease by dressing in red and inviting your family and friends to do the same. We’ll be celebrating with female-friendly love notes, a linky party (show off your favorite red apparel), and a giveaway from Studio Calico. So come back, and join the fun!
* Statistics provided by the American Heart Association (AHA). To learn more about heart disease, risk factors, and prevention, visit the AHA at heart.org.