My grandmother was a firm believer that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” She worked hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it paid off. She passed away at the age of 100 ½ years. Her heart remained healthy and strong until the end. This was not always the case. There was a time, in her mid-50s, when her weight was up and her cholesterol was high. In a day when little was known about women and heart disease, her doctor got her attention and she took action. The excess weight and high cholesterol were short-lived companions in her life.
We are so much luckier today than our mothers and grandmothers were regarding heart disease. Education, resources, counseling, online tools – we have it all. Despite the resources available to us, heart related disease remains the number one killer of women in the United States. Statistics tell us that one in three of all women will die of heart related disease. These numbers are not just statistics on a piece of paper. These numbers represent very real women – mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, best friends. The sad part is that 80% of most heart related disease is entirely preventable- we have the power to change this outcome!
In recognizing that prevention truly is the best medicine, the American Heart Association (AHA) recently revealed its Impact 2020 Goals. Impact 2020 is focused on reducing heart disease and stroke related deaths by 20% by the year 2020. Preventing heart disease from developing is the primary tool the AHA plans to use for accomplishing these goals. As a result, the AHA has provided you and me with even more tools such as Life’s Simple 7 and My Life Check (See, www.heart.org/MyLifeCheck) to help identify risk factors for heart disease and take appropriate action so that you and I don’t become a statistic.
One of the excellent tools available for women is the Better U Makeover featured on the Go Red for Women AHA website. Go Red for Women is specifically focused on education, raising awareness, and prevention of heart disease related health issues in women.