As we wrap up February it is important to remember to take care of our hearts year-round. February is American Heart Month, where awareness is heightened around cardiovascular disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cardiovascular disease (CVD)—including heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure—is the number 1 killer of women and men in the United States.”
Statistics show that the impact affects Americans' quality of life, and costs the country billions. The CDC quotes an American Heart Association Abstract saying, “It is a leading cause of disability, preventing Americans from working and enjoying family activities.”
The disease costs more than $300 billion each year affecting the cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity.
Along with Heart Awareness month, “Go Red For Women,” was in full force all month long. This project is an effort to raise awareness about women and heart disease.
According to the organization, “It’s the No. 1 killer of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer.” They report heart disease as killing one woman every minute.
The National Institutes for Health says women over the age of 55 are cautioned to be more aware about heart disease. The reason is that estrogen levels drop because typically this is after menopause.
The level of estrogen apparently plays a big role in heart disease risk factors according to the NIH statistics. “Women who have gone through early menopause, either naturally or because they have had a hysterectomy, are twice as likely to develop heart disease as women of the same age who have not yet gone through menopause.”
After middle age, women also become more prone to some of the other risk factors which can lead to heart disease. Those risk factors include diabetes,high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking. Being overweight, being physically inactive, and having a family history of early heart disease can also be factors.
Many of the above-quoted organizations agree on two rather obvious components that can keep your heart healthy and potentially reduce the risk factors are diet and exercise.