Today is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Heart disease is the number one cause of death and disability in both men and women in the United States and in many other westernized countries. In fact, it kills more women than the next five causes of death combined.
What can you do to prevent heart disease and stroke? The top 5 steps you can take to prevent heart disease are:
1) Eat a heart healthy diet.
- Avoid all manmade trans fatty acids (partially hydrogenated oils) and choose fats that are liquid at room temperature (oils), nuts, seeds, avocados and olives.
- Choose a diet rich in fruits and vegetables which contain an array of antioxidants, fiber and vitamins and minerals.
- Consume less than 1,500 mg sodium per day if you have high blood pressure.
- Drink in moderation. That means a maximum of 1 alcoholic drink per day for women and 2 for men. If you don’t drink, don’t start.
- Cut down on the refined carbohydrates in your diet – especially if you have type 2 diabetes.
2) Don’t Smoke, Dip, Chew Tobacco
3) Maintain a Healthy Weight
4) Exercise Several Days Per Week
5) Take Charge of Your Health.
- Get health screenings including blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose regularly.
- Be pro-active and make dietary changes even if you are on medicine to help lower your blood sugar, blood pressure or blood lipids.
And for all the women out there, know the warning signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke which may include indigestion, sleep disturbances, weakness in the arms, discomfort in the jaw, shoulder, neck or upper back, shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness or dizziness, unusual fatigue, chest pain (though not all women experience chest pain).
Lastly, do your part and spread the word to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Tell your sisters, moms, aunts, daughters, friends and coworkers. Get them out there exercising, encourage them to maintain a healthy weight and eat a heart healthy diet and lend support when they need it. Be a role model and a friend.