February, the month of Valentine’s Day, love and hearts, is also the month dedicated to raising awareness about heart health, and therefore it’s the perfect time to focus on your own heart. Yes, the one inside your chest that you take for granted, even though it’s the hardest working muscle in your body.
Did you know heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States and the leading killer of women worldwide? While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease. And young women are not immune. Lifestyle-related factors that increase heart disease risk are increasingly common among girls, teenagers, and young adults.
But all is not doom-and-gloom. According to the American Heart Association, from 2003 to 2013, the death rate from heart disease has fallen about 38 percent, but numbers are still too high. What can we do to make sure these number continue to drop? It’s simple really. Take charge of your heart and follow what the AHA calls Life's Simple 7 the “seven factors and behaviors” that have the largest impact on heart health. These are:
- Lose weight / maintain a healthy weight
- Eat better
- Move! Get active
- Manage your blood pressure
- Reduce your blood sugar
- Stop Smoking
- Control your cholesterol
So if you haven’t already made a resolution for 2016, add these “Lucky Seven” to your list. And note: simply making a positive change in any one of these areas can make a difference in your overall health. If you can lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Small changes matter. Take baby steps. You’re worth it.
For more information , check out the Go Red For Women campaign.