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Monday, Feb. 1, 2016

HEART DISEASE

AHA aims to reduce deaths in women

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AHA aims to reduce deaths in women

Heart disease remains to be the No. 1 killer of women, claiming every one in three deaths each year.

Feb. 5 is National Wear Red Day as an effort to bring attention and donations to fighting this battle.

The American Heart Association has been raising awareness, supporting research and working to fight against cardiovascular disease since 1924. Of their causes, the AHA initiated the Go Red for Women campaign in 2004 to empower women to take control of their health. The mission behind the heart health initiative was to educate women on the risks, causes, symptoms and tools to fight heart disease.

According to the AHA, in 2010 a goal was set to reduce death and disability from heart disease and strokes by 20 percent. Additionally, the campaign aimed to help improve cardiovascular health in all Americans by 2020.

The AHA explains Go Red for Women was created to address heart disease in women specifically because the attention and research had largely focused on men. Educating and spreading awareness are critical elements of the campaign’s efforts to save lives. Funds raised by the organization make that education and awareness possible through community programs and materializing research. Funds also help to further scientific research in understanding risk factors and treatment options.

According to the AHA, more than 200,000 healthcare providers have received Go Red for Women educational toolkits to ensure that their female patients are receiving care that are congruent with the latest and most effective scientific guidelines.

One of the Go Red for Women initiatives is the Go Red Heart CheckUp program, which to date has helped more than two million women know and understand their personal risk of developing heart disease. The online and interactive tool helps women assess what their main cardiovascular risks are and understand that risk over the course of the next 10 years. The test takes only a matter of minutes and with the results comes a Personal Action Plan, which offers nutritional and fitness goals to help with living a healthier life. The tool is to offer insight and resources into the No. 1 killer of women, and help to change that statistic. From lifestyle changes to everyday choices, the Go Red Heart CheckUp offers a user-friendly guide to understanding the body and the risk for heart disease.

The risk factors that surround heart disease and that the Go Red campaign is so vocal of include physical inactivity, cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes and weight. Understanding your own individual risk factors is necessary in reducing or even preventing the onset of heart disease. The goal is to be able to make changes where they are possible. While family history and genetics are out of our hands, different choices in diet and lifestyle continue to have a big impact on heart health.

According to the AHA, women who “Go Red” typically follow a regular exercise routine, eat a healthier diet, visit the doctor for important tests and engage in conversation to encourage other women to take control of their heart health. Another valuable component of Go Red for Women’s mission to save lives is the recommendation for women to go to a regular Well-Woman Visit. A covered visit by healthcare networks, the preventative appointment is also known as an annual physical, a well-woman exam or a wellness visit. The appointment is a time to discuss your health and any potential concerns or risk factors that need to be addressed. The exam is to be tailored to each individual’s age, family history and need for preventative screenings. Most importantly, the visit should have an emphasis on heart health as the AHA estimates up to 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. The appointment should be a regular occurrence every year, and it is especially important to follow any additional testing and appointments recommended by the doctor.

As National Wear Red Day on Feb. 5 approaches, the AHA is sparing no time or expense to continue their momentum of raising awareness of heart disease in women. The day is designated for women to wear red and open up the conversation on cardiovascular disease and living a healthier lifestyle, while empowering women to take control of their heart health. Ways in which people can support this mission and celebrate National Wear Red Day include wearing red, become a National Wear Red Day Fundraiser, share photos with the hashtag #GoRedWearRed, join in the conversation and donate.

LEARN MORE:

For more information about fi ghting heart disease, go to www.goredforwomen.org,

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