CindySays: Heart disease is a real killer
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Listen up, ladies. February is deserving of our attention.
It is Go Red for Women month, sponsored by the American Heart Association. This marks the 10th year of the movement to save women's lives from heart disease. There has been significant progress, but we still have a long way to go.
Did you know:
While we are just beginning to scratch the surface of why women are such a target of heart disease, it raises the question: Do you know where you stand with this killer?
What's on your radar?
Recently at a social event, I listened to a group of women having a serious discussion on home safety. It seems as though gun violence and home invasions have placed families on high alert lately. They spoke passionately about how they were making preparations in case such a terrifying situation ever presented itself.
Following the conversation, complete with details of gun purchases, sophisticated evacuation plans, gun safety classes, and a dedication of funds toward beefed-up home security, I drove home admiring their commitment to protecting their loved one's lives.
One every 60 seconds
This led me to look into the likelihood of a home invasion, and I was somewhat relieved when it produced words like "unlikely" and "uncommon." Then it struck me. The chance of a family losing their mother to heart disease was just the opposite.
In fact, heart disease poses the No. 1 risk of death for women in the United States, killing nearly half a million women each year. It is also the leading cause of disability as two-thirds fail to make a full recovery.
I wondered if these women were as committed to protecting their own bodies from heart disease -- something far more likely to strike them than a home invader.
The American Heart Association's Go Red for Women movement advocates for more research and swifter action for women's heart health for this very reason. Let's clear up some of the myths women buy into so that we can lower our risk. See if you recognize any of these quotes:
A love affair
Heart disease loves us, ladies, so please don't buy into the myths. Take an active role in your health by staying a step ahead of this killer. If you smoke, find a program that will help you stop; if you are sedentary, adopt a regular exercise regimen; if you haven't thought about your diet, start paying attention to the foods you eat; and if you haven't had your numbers checked lately, make an appointment with your health-care provider to learn your blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
Finally, in honor of American Heart Month, make it your goal to spread awareness about this important women's health issue by informing your social circles on how to minimize their risk of heart disease. It's certainly a conversation worth starting.
Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.