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This month I’m excited to team up with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and share about The Heart Truth® program.
Basically my entire life, I have learned all about the heart and all that goes with it. My mom is the director of a cardiac rehab in our area. Essentially when patients have a heart attack or heart issue, she then educates them on heart health along with putting them on a healthy diet and exercise program. Over the years, her patients have actually watched my sister and I grow up, they’ve known us since we were kids. They love my mom so much, they stick around WAY beyond what is required. That says a lot about the success of their program.
Throughout the years one thing has become more obvious, there are many more women than ever before and many are young! Many are my age! That’s just not good, I’m in my 30s.
Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women? I think the general stereotype is that men are more affected by it, but that’s very wrong! Actually 80% of women ages 40-60 have at least one risk factor and 1 in 4 died from heart disease in 2013.
Risk factors of heart disease include these:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Diabetes and prediabetes
- Being overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater)
- Being physically inactive (less than 2.5 hours of physical activity per week)
- Having a family history of early heart disease
- Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
- Unhealthy eating
- Age (55 or older for women)
The scary thing for me is that I have some of those risk factors for heart disease. I am working extremely hard to change this including changing my diet and eating more heart-healthy. I’ve also added in exercise. It was an eye opener for me when I could not keep up with my kids and was winded just from walking upstairs.
I am very passionate about the goal of The Heart Truth in spreading awareness about heart disease and the affect it has on women.
A major aspect of The Heart Truth is to share gifts #FromtheHeart. For me that means sharing meals with family and friends. I’ve already started this by bringing my parents and other family members meals that are better for their heart options. This means loading each of those meals with lots of veggies and good for you alternatives. This helps my family members that may not have time to cook avoid going for the fast food for dinner. I love that I am able to spread the message of The Heart Truth by providing gifts #FromtheHeart. I encourage each of you to spread the word and give a gift #FromtheHeart this month as well!
I come from a family that has a history of heart trouble even the most active of family members, but I also know that now I can stay on top of it for my own self and stay active. I know that each thing I can do to make myself healthier will help reduce those risk factors.
Just discussing the issue and truly being open and honest about it is the first step. Admitting this is an issue for women and what we can do to better ourselves. I know for me getting back on track with my eating and TRYING to ditch those pesky french fries is a huge step for me in lowering my cholesterol. Then, of course excising regularly.
Making healthier choices not only helps reduce my risk factors of heart disease but also helps me truly live and feel better in general.
What changes will you make to your lifestyle? I want to hear what you plan to do #FromTheHeart.
Join The Heart Truth and the American Heart Association for a Twitter #HeartChat on National #WearRedDay, February 5. Follow @TheHeartTruth for more details!