Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Taking Better Care of You

It's crazy that many times as women, we have to be reminded to take care of ourselves! Last week, I went to a seminar about women and heart disease, and learned that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women! Needless to say, I went on this mission to be sure I keep my health in check. I also began checking with friends and family to make sure they were doing the same. Some of my friends and family members have vowed to do more walking, even if they have to do it on their lunch breaks.

Walking as an exercise activity has tremendous benefits, and it's a quick and easy way to get moving and get the heart pumping. We can simply put our walking shoes in the trunk of our cars so that whenever we want to take a walk we can.

If we don't take care of ourselves who will? And if we don't, we will not be around to take care of those we love, or to accomplish those lofty goals we have. I remember having a conversation about this with my daughter, and I told her that we need to help each other stay healthy. I told her I needed her to hold me accountable for simply drinking enough water every day! I also promised to remind her to take her vitamins, and we both remind each other to exercise regularly.

Of course, every day won't be perfect, and we won't always have time to do everything we need to do. But at the end of the day, if we don't have our health, we don't have anything, so it's worth it to make a health plan for our lives, and stick to it!

Below, I included some of the facts about the dangers of heart disease. And  even if you are a man, please be sure to read this, and promise yourself that you will begin taking better care of you. Seriously, go and get that yearly exam, even if you have to force yourself. Tell someone else to hold you accountable. It may sound crazy, but some people need that extra push, or they simply will not do anything toward taking good care of themselves. Be sure to go to the Web sites I've listed below for more information on heart disease prevention. I just pulled some information to get you started.

Women & Heart Disease

  • Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
  • While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.
  • Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.
  • Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
  • An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.
  • Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
  • Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.
  • The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.

How Can Heart Disease Be Prevented?

Taking action to control your risk factors can help prevent or delay coronary heart disease (CHD). Your risk for CHD increases with the number of CHD risk factors you have.

One step you can take is to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle. A heart healthy lifestyle should be part of a lifelong approach to healthy living. For example, if you smoke, try to quit. Smoking can raise your risk for CHD and heart attack and worsen other CHD risk factors. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.

For more information about quitting smoking, go to the Health Topics Smoking and Your Heart article and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's (NHLBI's) "Your Guide to a Healthy Heart."

Following a healthy diet also is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet includes a variety of vegetables and fruits. It also includes whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and protein foods, such as lean meats, poultry without skin, seafood, processed soy products, nuts, seeds, beans, and peas.

A healthy diet is low in sodium (salt), added sugars, solid fats, and refined grains. Solid fats are saturated fat and trans fatty acids. Refined grains come from processing whole grains, which results in a loss of nutrients (such as dietary fiber).

The NHLBI's Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) are two programs that promote healthy eating.
If you're overweight or obese, work with your doctor to create a reasonable weight-loss plan. Controlling your weight helps you control CHD risk factors.

Be as physically active as you can. Physical activity can improve your fitness level and your health. Talk with your doctor about what types of activity are safe for you.

For more information about physical activity, go to the Health Topics Physical Activity and Your Heart article and the NHLBI's "Your Guide to Physical Activity and Your Heart."
Know your family history of CHD. If you or someone in your family has CHD, be sure to tell your doctor.
If lifestyle changes aren't enough, you also may need medicines to control your CHD risk factors. Take all of your medicines as prescribed.


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