National Wear Red Day
Kathaleen Johnson DNP, CRNP, CCRN, PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute | 02.06.14
National Wear Red Day® — the first Friday each February — is a special day to bring attention to this silent killer of women. Started by the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign, the red dress has become the iconic symbol of our battle against heart disease in women. On National Wear Red Day, women are encouraged to wear red, raise their voices, know their cardiovascular risk and take action to live longer, healthier lives.
Heart disease has been called the Silent Killer because it often has no noticeable symptoms. It's more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. And it’s not just "an old man’s disease."
As women, we are used to putting everyone’s needs before our own. At times, our own health forgoes some of our other obligations in life. Whether you have considered this or not, our cardiovascular health will ultimately impact our families’ well-being and possibly their families’ quality of life. Therefore, I challenge each of you to make your cardiovascular health a priority in your daily life. The healthier you are, the healthier your whole family will be!
Here are the grim statistics:
• One in three women will die from heart disease
• This is equal to approximately one death per minute among women
• Heart disease deaths outranks breast cancer as a cause of death for women 10-fold
The good news--despite the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, it has declined dramatically in the past 20 years. This decline can be attributed to:
• Increased use of evidence-based therapies for secondary prevention of a heart attack
• Coronary intervention
• Treatment of risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes
• Lifestyle and environmental changes such as smoking cessation, increased exercising, eating a low fat/low cholesterol diet
Smoking cigarettes is a risk factor in heart disease for women.
It is important to know the most common risk factors.
• Cigarette smoking
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Being overweight
• Poor diet
• Physical inactivity
• Family history of premature heart disease
• Metabolic syndrome
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
It is the name for a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. The term "metabolic" refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body's normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease.
Metabolic Risk Factors include:
• A large waistline. This also is called abdominal obesity or "having an apple shape." Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body, such as on the hips.
• A high triglyceride level. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood.
• A low HDL cholesterol level. HDL sometimes is called "good" cholesterol. This is because it helps remove cholesterol from your arteries. A low HDL cholesterol level raises your risk for heart disease.
• High blood pressure -- Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.
• High fasting blood sugar--Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.
It is important to work with your primary care physician to identify your risk factors and determine what your heart health goals should be.
In general, the goals for ideal heart health in adults are:
• Total Cholesterol <200mg/dL
• BP <120/70mmHg
• Fasting serum glucose <100mg/dL
• Body mass index <25kg/m2
• Abstinence from smoking
• Physical activity >150 min/week at moderate intensity, >75 min/week vigorous intensity, or a combination of the 2
• Heart healthy diet, low in fat, high in fiber
Of course the best plan is prevention. There are easy ways take ownership of your health by developing healthy lifestyles.
• Think positive and focus on gratitude
• Eat your veggies
• Set a “five-meal ideal”
• Exercise daily … make exercise fun!
• Get a good night’s sleep
• Be a picky eater
• Think small goals
• Keep good company
• Make a list
• Sign up for an event
There are many online resources on your journey to good heart health. Visit www.pinnaclehealth.org/heart for more information. In addition, the National Institute of Health calculator is a great resource, http://cvdrisk.nhlbi.nih.gov/calculator.asp.
We've made tremendous strides in the fight against heart disease in women, but more needs to be done. This Friday, February 7, I hope that you join me and millions of women by Wearing Red.
Author Kathaleen Johnson DNP, CRNP, CCRN, PinnacleHealth CardioVascular Institute
SPECIAL Go Red for Women® EVENT: Join us Saturday, February 8, noon-3 p.m. at the Linglestown Life United Methodist Church 1430 N. Mountain Road, Harrisburg, for an afternoon of low impact ZUMBA® fitness or YOGA as we draw awareness to women and heart disease. Blood pressure, weight, pulse and cholesterol checks as well as CPR instruction will be available during the event. Stuart Pink, MD, cardiologist, will be present to offer information on peripheral vascular disease and the PinnacleHealth Capital Region Vein Center.
The cost is $20/person with a FREE t-shirt at registration. Proceeds benefit the American Heart Association Go Red for Women® program. Advance registration is required. Call (717) 231-8900 to register or for more information.