According to the American Heart Association(AHA), heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. In addition, stroke is the number one cause of preventable disability. Though heart disease impacts men and women at nearly the same rate, a higher proportion of events attributable to stroke occur in women. Also, far fewer women seek treatment because they rarely exhibit symptoms that alert them to a problem.
For this reason, the AHA has designated February 3rd as National Wear Red Day. The Go Red for Women movement is intended to increase awareness with the hopes of ending heart disease and stroke in women.
National Wear Red Day for Prevention of Heart Disease
How much do you know about heart disease? Take this quiz on the CDC website and find out.
Brent M. Egan, M.D., professor of medicine and pharmacology at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C., states: “The reality is, we know more than enough to prevent 75 percent of heart disease and strokes, but we’re not doing everything we could be doing or even doing it at a reasonable level.”
Early prevention is the best way to avoid heart problems later in life. Although it might be difficult to switch over to a heart healthy lifestyle, it’s never too late to make these changes. In most cases, heart disease and stroke can be prevented by controlling certain risk factors such as diet, physical activity and overall lifestyle choices. The Mayo Clinic offers the following suggestions to support heart-healthy living:
- Avoid tobacco.
- Exercise 30 minutes, several times a week.
- Improve your diet with whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.
- Moderate your alcohol consumption.
Know Your Risks
The top three risk factors for chronic heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Medical conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes can place extra stress on your heart and other vital organs, including your arteries and blood vessels. Being overweight and sedentary are also contributing factors, as are poor diet and higher alcohol consumption. Luckily, the majority of these indicators relate to lifestyle, which can be managed over time.
However, other risk factors for heart disease, such as age, sex, or family history, cannot be controlled. Race, ethnicity, and even geographic factors also impact the occurrence of the disease as it relates to the availability of treatment and prevention programs.
Know Your Numbers
The AHA urges women to be familiar with their numbers. This includes blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar count, and BMI/weight. (The AHA uses a specific BMI measurement system that can be found here). Statistics show high blood pressure affects almost 33% of the U.S. adult population, and doubles the risk for heart disease. Nearly 32 million Americans have dangerously high total blood cholesterol levels of 240 mg/dL or higher. Previous research indicates that treating high blood pressure reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 25%, and treating high cholesterol in hypertensive patients can lower the risk by more than 35 percent.
Further, obesity is now recognized as a major risk factor of heart disease. According to the World Heart Federation, your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and hypertension rises steeply as you gain weight. WHF statistics show that 58% of diabetes and 21% of ischemic heart disease are attributable to higher BMI.
Aftermath Cares About Your Health
Being heart healthy requires ongoing effort. Believe it or not, company culture can play a huge factor in heart health. Aftermath is leading by example and encouraging employees, partners, and customers alike to make awareness and prevention a part of their individual lifestyles.