The month is about love and there is no better way to say I love you than to share heart healthy insight with friends, family and loved ones. For so many years when the topic was heart health most of the info was based on what the medical profession knew about men and their heart health. Fortunately health professionals have revised their outlook and there is now research and data available on women. We’ve learned that it is important for women to know the risk factors.
Now I wish I could say it was all about the medical info, but as you know you can often get the attention of women when you pair the subject with fashion. We’ve all heard about Go Red for Women, ® the designated day each February when folks are encouraged to wear red to spotlight the importance of women having healthy hearts. This month I’m encouraging you to go red, add some sizzle and put that hot color on your menu year ’round.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. One in four women in this country dies of heart disease. Risk factors contributing to heart disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Though these factors affect both sexes, several factors can affect the heart health of women more than that of men. Factors which can play a role in the development of heart disease in women are:
• The combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides.
• Mental stress and depression. Depression makes it tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle and stick to the treatment. So talk to your doctor if you’re having symptoms of depression.
• Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
• Low levels of estrogen after menopause may increase a woman’s risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels.
Women most often are the caregivers, but in reality we often overlook giving ourselves the care we need. Each of the above risk factors can be decreased by making changes in lifestyle. By adding and increasing the priority of regular exercise to the daily or weekly routine, women can help reduce fat around the abdomen, blood pressure, depression and stress. The addition of one healthy lifestyle activity can pay off by reducing at least four risk factors. Now that’s a high-heeled step in the right direction.
Smoking cessation is a must-and the benefits start immediately. After 20 minutes blood pressure decreases, after eight hours, oxygen levels in the blood rise and after 24 hours the chance of a heart attack decreases. Within 48 hours, the ability to taste and smell increases, which adds up to more enjoyment in the flavor and texture of good-for-you foods.
Stock up on colorful red fruits and vegetables. By increasing the amount of produce in the daily diet, you can maximize the nutrients, increase anti-oxidants, and fiber-all recognized picks for a healthy lifestyle. Choices include red beets, pomegranates, red cabbage, red grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, red apples, red grapes, tomatoes, red currants, dried cranberries and cherries. Add red to the menu and look for the eye-catching color in the freezer, produce section and on supermarket shelves.
Now changing your lifestyle is not limited to women, this is a change that is good for the entire family.