Sponsored by VCU Health
By J. Chevonte’ Alexander
It’s February! The month of chocolates and teddy bears, surprise dates and flowers, but most importantly love. That’s right love…love of each other, but also love of the heart and heart health. February is Heart Health month and this month we wear red and ‘go red’ for women!
Urban Views Weekly had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Kyungeh An, Associate Professor for the Department of Adult Health and Nursing Systems at VCU’s School of Nursing, about the importance of this month. “It’s time to get back to heart-healthy habits after a little holiday “cheating”, says Dr. An. “The American Heart Association is trying to bring people’s attention to heart health by focusing on exercise and adding a good diet to their daily routine.”
Very often, heart disease is dismissed as an older man’s disease, but that is not the case. To raise awareness of heart disease and stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.
Support Go Red For Women by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 3, 2017.
About once every minute a woman dies from a stroke, heart attack or a lesser-known problem called a sudden cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association. Sudden cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack. It’s not caused by a blockage that stops blood flow to the heart; instead, the heart’s electrical system stops working properly and can’t pump blood the way it should.
Women must take control of their own health. The first step in preventing heart disease-related deaths in American women is engagement. Every woman must know her risk for heart disease. It is essential that women partner with their physician or other healthcare provider in order to assess their health status and identify at risk behaviors or other high risk conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
You must be able to connect and effectively communicate with your healthcare provider in order to work together to reduce risk. Ask questions and never accept an answer or an opinion from a medical professional that does not adequately address your concerns. Women must advocate for themselves and each other (family, friends, etc.) in order to improve awareness of the risks for heart disease in women.
Let’s all GO RED for WOMEN and show our support by wearing RED!
G: GET YOUR NUMBERS
Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure and cholesterol.
O: OWN YOUR LIFESTYLE
Stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, and eat healthy.
“Exercise is as important as healthy diet.” says Dr. An.
It’s up to you. No one can do it for you.
R: REALIZE YOUR RISK
We think it won’t happen to us, but heart disease kills one of three women.
E: EDUCATE YOUR FAMILY
Make healthy food choices for you and your family.
“People should also read the nutrition labels on the food. Reading labels is important to make a wise choice to buy low-sodium products, and swapping out sweets for fruit or sugar-free items.” comments Dr. An.
Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
D: DON’T BE SILENT
Tell every woman you know that heart disease is our No. 1 killer.
Ninety percent of all women have one or more heart disease risk factors, but the good news is that 80% of the problems can be prevented by controlling risk factors, according to the heart association. That means not smoking, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, drinking little alcohol and maintaining proper weight.
VIDEO: What It Means To Go Red