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nationalredday

February is American Heart Month sponsored by The American Heart Association. It is no surprise that heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. What may surprise a few, is that it’s the number one killer in women, claiming nearly 500,000 lives. Most people believed that it affects more men so many women did not pay much attention to the disease. National Wear Red Day was started to raise awareness about heart disease being the number one killer of women. Tomorrow will mark 15 years since the 1st National Wear Red Day was observed. National Wear Red Day is held on the first Friday in February.

Since raising awareness many women have been making changes in their lives to be more heart conscience. Some of the strides they’ve made have included losing weight, increasing their exercise, making a healthy behavior change and checking cholesterol levels. Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day, and deaths in women have decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years! Even though all of this progress has been made, 1 in 3 women still die of heart disease and stroke each year.

 

So what can you do besides wear RED tomorrow? Know your heart healthy numbers.

  1. Risk factors you can* and cannot control
    1. High blood pressure*
    2. Diabetes*
    3. Lack of regular activity*
    4. Age
    5. Gender
    6. Heredity
  2. Know your numbers
    1. Total cholesterol
    2. HDL cholesterol
    3. Blood Pressure
    4. Blood Sugar
    5. Body Mass Index
  3. Take Action
    1. Manage blood pressure
    2. Control cholesterol
    3. Reduce blood sugar
    4. Get active
    5. Eat better
    6. Lose weight
    7. Stop smoking

If you would like to find out more information on each of the areas above, you can visit GoRedforWomen.org  On their site you can take a risk factors quiz and learn more about the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke.

I hope to see lots of RED tomorrow.

 

Sources:

https://www.goredforwomen.org/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/national-wear-red-day/

https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/know-your-risk/

https://healthfinder.gov/NHO/FebruaryToolkit.aspx

 

Author: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County, harmon.416@osu.edu

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stroke-fast-magnetMay is National Stroke Awareness Month, High Blood Pressure Education Month, and National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. Wow! The symmetry amongst those three events all occurring in the same month (in my mind, anyways) is incredible, as high blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. And not being physically active is a significant risk factor for stroke and hypertension (high blood pressure).

A stroke is a disruption in the blood supply to your brain that happens when you experience a blockage in a blood vessel or a blood vessel bursts. Every year, almost 800,000 strokes occur in the United States. The two diseases I try hardest to prevent by walking every day are diabetes and stroke. You can lessen your risk for having a stroke by following a regular exercise program as well. The best exercise for a stroke or hypertension prevention program is any exercise that involves moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

What is moderate-intensity aerobic activity?

Exercise and/or “chore” activities that fall into the moderate-intensity category include brisk walking, bicycling on level ground, mowing the lawn, and raking leaves. Typically, activities of this sort elevate your heart rate and cause you to sweat while allowing you to carry on a more or less normal conversation. If you can talk with someone while exercising, but need to stop speaking here or there because you are slightly winded, then you are exercising moderately.

Aerobic exercise is good for you because it “ups” your heart rate and forces your lungs to take in more oxygen while expelling more carbon dioxide. This gives your heart a good workout and pumps a quick jolt of oxygen through your cells. Not exercising regularly? The consequence may be startling; high levels of carbon dioxide in your blood, even when all other tests of the blood are fine. While not life threatening, it does say you are not inhaling enough oxygen or exhaling enough carbon dioxide. Your cells must have oxygen to survive moment to moment.

Exercise also makes the walls of your arteries more elastic. This helps explain why it’s so great at reversing high blood pressure. Picture your garden hose. If the water is turned on full blast but there is a kink in the hose, the pressure builds up. Likewise, the higher the volume of blood and the stiffer the artery, the harder the heart has to work to pump the blood around your system. This, in turn, can raise your risk for a stroke.

If you know someone who has had a stroke and you’ve personally seen the consequences of that devastating brain injury, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to avoid it happening to YOU?? Physical activity isn’t a “whenever” health choice, it is one of the most important lifestyle choices you can make. Our greatest asset isn’t our home or vehicle, it’s our body. Protect it!

Sources:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/stroke/
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HighBloodPressure/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke/DS00150/DSECTION=prevention
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7919065

Written by:
Donna Green, BS, MA
Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Ohio State University Extension

Reviewed by:
Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D.
Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences
Ohio State University Extension

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Nearly 30 years ago, within a 7 year time span, both of my parents died of cardiovascular disease.  I was a young woman in her mid-twenties and they were in their early fifties.  My father had high blood pressure, needed to lose weight and to stop smoking.  Their lifestyles weren’t health oriented.  They started smoking during WWII and continued their entire lives.  My dad stopped smoking but the negative health effects took their toll.  Within 6 months he was dead of a heart attack.  For a high school student, this was a traumatic life event.  My mom died of a stroke and heart attack about 7 years later.  Her weight was normal but she’d also been a smoker for 40 years of more.  Yes, this is their monument, and my father was a stone cutter and owner of Treber Memorials.  My family has had a monument business for the past 143 years but it was heartbreaking for us to select this monument.

Why do I share my story?  Because heart attack and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.  Although you may have genetic factors that increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, there are many lifestyle habits that you can embrace to reduce your risk factors.

According to the Million Hearts™ Health Campaign, heart attack and stroke are two of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States, making cardiovascular disease responsible for 1 of every 3 deaths in the country.

Visit this website http://millionhearts.hhs.gov and use their My Life Check tool to assess your current cardiovascular health and learn more about stroke and heart disease.

What can you do?

Follow these suggestions for a healthier lifestyle:

  •  Eat more vegetables and fruits.  Try a fruit or vegetable as a mid-morning snack.  Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast routine.  If you are hungry, pick some fresh veggies as a healthy snack.
  • Move more.  We all know how important physical activity can be.  Make the commitment to move more each day.  Park your car away from the entrance, take the stairs, enjoy a walk during your lunch break or after dinner.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.  Talk to your doctor about your weight.  If you need to lose weight, start making small changes to reduce your calories and increase your physical activity.
  • Stop smoking.  If you are a smoker, set a quit date.  For resources to help you quit, call 1 800-QUIT NOW.  Talk to your doctor about other options to help you stop smoking including medications.  Smoking can lead to heart attack or stroke and steals an average of 13-14 years of your life.  Once you stop smoking, your risk for heart attack and stroke declines each year.
  • Watch your Blood Pressure.  High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload, causing the heart to thicken and become stiffer.  It also increases our risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
  • Talk to your doctor about your cholesterol number.  As blood cholesterol rises, so does the risk of coronary heart disease. When other risk factors (such as high blood pressure and tobacco smoke) are present, this risk increases even more. A person’s cholesterol level is also affected by age, sex, heredity, and diet.

Take the Million Hearts™ pledge: http://millionhearts.hhs.gov.Save your heart, take the Million Hearts pledge, and celebrate American Heart Month

Make a commitment to saving your life.

Sources:

Choose My Plate available at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Healthy Ohio Program available at www.healthyohioprogram.org

Million Hearts Campaign available at http://millionhearts.hhs.gov

Writer:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Pickaway County, Ohio State University Extension.  treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

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