By JACLYN FRANKS,
MPH, Purdue University Cooperative Extension
Next Friday, Feb. 5, is National Wear Red Day. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute! As many as 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
So what is heart disease? Heart disease affects the blood vessels and the cardiovascular system and causes numerous problems such as atherosclerosis, or plaque building up in the arteries. This plaque buildup narrows the arteries and restricts blood from flowing through them. If a blood clot forms, a heart attack or stroke can result.
Heart disease can also involve heart failure, arrhythmia (or an abnormal rhythm of the heart) and heart valve problems.
The good news is that heart disease can be prevented. Making healthy choices today can decrease your chances of developing heart disease in the future. In order to prevent heart disease don’t smoke, manage your blood sugar, control your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol, know your family history, stay active, lose weight and eat healthy. Also, schedule a prevention check-up to review your overall health so your doctor can look for signs of heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses.
Join me in wearing red on Feb. 5, to create awareness and show support for your friends, family, and women in your community. Encourage yourself and others to make heart health a priority.
If you haven’t yet signed up for Purdue Extension’s free “Be Heart Smart” class this February, it’s not too late! Please call the Extension Office to register or send me an email.
This class will be held Thursdays in February at 10 a.m. and during the four-week class we will discuss how to monitor risk factors for heart disease and how to make simple changes to your daily routine to improve your heart health.