Friday, February 1, 2013

Go RED for Women!!!!

heart disease day
This go red heart symbolizes raising awareness of heart disease in women.
On Feb. 1, the American Heart Association’s  " Go Red for Women " day campaign is celebrating its 10th annual National Wear Red Day. Women and men across the country will wear red in support of the movement to prevent heart disease in women.

Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, more deadly than all forms of cancer combined! Heart disease causes one in three women’s death each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Many think that breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women , however, 1 in 31 women die of breast cancer annually ,1 in 3 women die from cardiovascular disease.

Wear red today or anytime during the month
of February to remind people of heart disease
in women.
To raise awareness of heart disease among women, the American Heart Association created the Go Red movement 10 years ago. This effort celebrates the energy, passion and power of women across the country and helps raise awareness of the threat posed by heart disease. Go Red for Women events also promote healthy lifestyles and raise money to help fund the fight against heart disease through scientific research.

Through research, we have found that women are less likely than men to be referred for diagnostic tests, to receive intervention such as angioplasties and stents, or to receive preventive medication. Women are also more likely than men to die within a year of having a heart attack, and women are 1.5 times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after heart bypass surgery. Despite established hospital and physician guidelines for heart patients, women continue to be occasionally misdiagnosed by physicians. Many primary care doctors still don’t know that heart disease kills more women than men.

While there was a huge decline in death from heart disease in men (17.5%) in the past 30 years, it has decreased a mere 2.5% in women of all ages. This chasm between men and women may grow even larger if disparities in the way women are treated persist.

These disparities are the reason Congress introduced a bipartisan bill, The HEART for Women Act (S. 438/H.R. 3526). The HEART for Women Act would require the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to submit an annual report to Congress on the quality of and access to care for women with cardiovascular disease. It would also ensure that new and experimental drug and medical device safety and efficacy data reported to the federal government is classified by gender, race and ethnicity.

“We need to know how drugs, treatments and devices affect women living with heart disease if we are going to decrease morbidity and mortality caused by heart disease, the number one killer of women. This bill will shine a light on how well the FDA reports research results stratified by sex, race and ethnicity,” said Lisa M. Tate, chief executive officer of Women Heart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, a heart disease association dedicated to promoting early detection and proper diagnosis.

What You Can Do

red heart day
Check blood pressure and
cholesterol to prevent a heart attack.
First, take charge — know your risk factors, maintain healthy eating habits, exercise, don’t smoke, and see your doctor every year. Your heart is in your hands. And heart disease is largely preventable if you work to lower your risks. So get on the horn and schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn what numbers you’re dealing with so you can lower them if you need to. Don’t wait to discover it after a heart attack strikes.

High cholesterol has no symptoms, and many people have it without knowing. Find out what your cholesterol levels are so you can lower them if you need to.

Ideally, total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, a desirable level that puts you at lower risk for heart disease.

HDL cholesterol levels:
• Less than 50 mg/dL: Low HDL cholesterol. A major risk factor for heart disease.

LDL cholesterol levels:
• Less than 100 mg/dL: Optimal

High blood pressure is considered a silent killer. It sneaks up on you, has symptoms that are easily confused with non-threatening health issues, and can put you at risk for heart disease.

Normal: Less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic (systolic is the top number, diastolic is the   bottom number).
Pre-hypertension: 120-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic
Hypertension: 140 or higher systolic or 90 or higher diastolic.

Now, with all this knowledge , I ask you to please join us in our efforts to reverse the statistics — there is strength in numbers, and together, we have the power to educate, commit and make a difference. Wear Red on February, 1st . You have the power to stop a killer. And you don’t need to become a kung fu master or undercover agent to do it! All you have to do is adopt a few simple habits that’ll put you on the road to a heart healthy lifestyle. Know your numbers and visit www.goredforwomen.org for more information and helpful tips. Also visit www.heart.org to get heart attack information, such as risk factors, prevention and care.

Remember, if you need any cholesterol, blood pressure or other prescription medications, the FamilyWize discount prescription card can save you up to 75%, if you are uninsured or if your prescription plan does not cover the drug. Download yours today and pass one along to a friend!

Theresa Conejo  RN
American Heart/Stroke Association Volunteer

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