This February, we are highlighting Go Red for Women and National Wear Red Day. Tomorrow, February 2nd, women across the country will dress in red to spread awareness for Cardiovascular Disease. This up and coming day is presented by the American Heart Association, and is dedicated to making women aware of the risks of heart disease and the ways it can be prevented. Why is this important to you? According to goredforwomen.org, approximately every 80 seconds Cardiovascular Disease kills one woman in the U.S. Go Red for Women is focused on making this shocking statistic heard, so that women can educate themselves, their loved ones, and tackle heart disease head on.
Us women are amazing, talented folks. We work tirelessly to take care of our children, families, and friends. We multitask endlessly as part of our daily lives. But how often do we take the time to take care of ourselves? It can be difficult to find the time out of our busy lives to take a trip to the doctor’s and practice good heart health, but it is incredibly important! We simply cannot take care of the people in our lives if we do not take care of ourselves. And frankly, heart health is not one of those tasks on the To Do list stuck to the fridge that can wait until later.
So, what can we do? Go Red for Women focus on the five critical numbers that all women should know to keep their heart healthy and pumping full of life. Being aware of and monitoring your numbers closely, along with discussing changes and irregularities with your doctor, will help determine your risk for Cardiovascular Disease. These five crucial numbers are: total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol), blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index. We have all heard of these “magic numbers”, but what do they really mean, and how to they apply to us?
Total Cholesterol differs from person to person and impacts your HDL. Your doctor can check your cholesterol levels, and discuss with you what you healthy and goal numbers are. The inspiring website goredforwomen.org has recommended goal numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, and body mass index. The ideal blood pressure is typically marked as 120/80 mm Hg. The desired blood sugar level when fasting is typically around 100 mg/dL. The ideal body mass index is seen to be around 25 kg/m2. Remember, that the healthy ranges for these numbers are just suggestions or norms- an outlier or two does not necessarily mean you have poor heart health, some variations are normal. Exact recommendations for you is where your healthcare professional comes in.
With close monitoring, help from your doctor, and by leading a heart healthy lifestyle, your risk of Cardiovascular Disease can decrease dramatically. Although the number of women heart disease affects is alarmingly high, the good news is that many of the leading risk factors of the disease can be prevented. Life can get crazy, and it is easy to forget about our own needs because we are so absorbed in taking care of others, but good heart health is not something we can ignore. Remember… the caregiver cannot give care, if care is not given to herself.