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According the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, including women. More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. To raise awareness of this women’s health issue, this Friday is National Wear Red Day.
Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease (CVD), is a term used to describe a number of problems related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries (atherosclerosis). As the plaque builds up, the arteries narrow, making it more difficult for blood to flow and creating a risk for heart attack or stroke. Other types of heart disease include heart failure, an irregular heartbeat and heart valve problems.
For the first time, the American Heart Association has defined what it means to have ideal cardiovascular health by identifying seven key health and behavior factors.
“Life’s Simple 7” are:
1. don’t smoke
2. maintain a healthy weight
3. engage in regular physical activity
4. eat a healthy diet
5. manage blood pressure
6 .take charge of cholesterol
7. keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels
While these may seem like they are geared more toward adults, these behaviors are important for people of ALL ages. Eating well, consistent physical activity, getting enough sleep, etc. should be stressed early to foster a life-long healthy lifestyle.
So wear red this Friday and think about your own health habits this February for American Heart Health Month!
What can you do for better heart health?