American Heart Association Complete Guide to Women's Heart Health : The Go Red for Women Way to Well-Being & Vitality
Heart disease poses the greatest health threat that women in the United States face: One in every three women will die from it each year. But that doesn't have to be the case. Heart disease is not an inevitable part of growing older. In fact, if you reach the age of 50 without developing the major risk factors for heart disease, you can live your entire life without it, and your chances of dying from it decrease from 50 percent to a strikingly low 8 percent. The key to preventing heart disease is embracing a heart-healthy lifestyle--and the sooner, the better. In this groundbreaking book, the American Heart Association shows you how even the smallest changes can make a big difference over time to protect the health of your heart. The Complete Guide to Women's Heart Health explains how gradual and sustainable shifts in your routine, such as using just a little more than one percent of your time each week to exercise or losing just 10 percent of your body weight, can have a far-reaching impact on your health. With specific pointers on diet, exercise, and health care, this book shows you how to get past the common obstacles as well as how to make taking care of your heart easy and attainable for the busy life you lead, at every age. In chapters targeted for every decade of a woman's life from her 20s to her 70s and beyond, the American Heart Association gives women age-appropriate advice on healthy lifestyle choices and heart-health care. Additional information addressing issues of special interest to women and how those issues affect the heart include: * Smoking* Pregnancy* Menopause and hormone therapy* Aging* Diabetes and other health conditions With the latest guidelines on prevention, suggestions on how to work with your healthcare providers to maintain and improve your vitality, details on screening technologies, and facts about common diagnoses and treatment options, this book is the ultimate resource to help you--and all the women in your life--fight heart disease.
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December 27, 2011
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Excerpt from American Heart Association Complete Guide to Women's Heart Health by American Heart Association
Get Ready to Go Red
Red is the color of passion and strength. It is also the color of your body's lifeline--your cardiovascular system.
As a medical student I was fascinated by the heart, pumping blood into a network of blood vessels throughout the body, and then later the blood returning to the lungs for oxygen and then getting pumped around again--the ultimate plumbing system. One day in anatomy class, when I was a student, I noticed that the artery I was studying felt stiff instead of rubbery and smooth. My professor informed me that the artery was atherosclerotic, that is, it was hardened because of cholesterol deposited in its walls. He also told me that it was a man's artery because heart disease was a man's disease.
I was reminded of this inaccurate and chauvinistic lesson some years ago when a publication from the American Heart Association reported that more women than men were dying for cardiovascular disease.
Today we know more. Although heart disease is still the leading killer of women, we know a lot more about prevention of heart disease in women. The American Heart Association launched the Go Red For Women movement to educate women and their health care providers about the risks and symptoms of heart attacks.
But awareness is only half the battle. Information is power, but using that information is even more powerful. That's why as a cardiologist, the author of a highly acclaimed women's health book, and the spokesperson for the Go Red For Women campaign, I speak to lots of women about heart health.
When I tell them that 1 in 3 women will die of heart disease, they look interested.
When I tell them that 64 percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms and that many of those women had at least one risk factor that could have been treated, their jaws drop.
When I tell them that making healthy changes in their lives will reduce their risk for heart disease by 80 percent, they look at me in disbelief.
But it's all true, and it's important information to act on.
Sometimes statistics like these are enough to motivate you to make changes in your life, like starting an exercise program, eating a healthier diet, or quitting smoking. But most of us have trouble getting started and sticking with a program because we have busy lives, including working and caring for children and sick parents. Who has the time? How do you begin? All you need is to Go Red; adopt a way of life to protect your lifeline- and you can begin by turning the pages of this book.
Nieca Goldberg, M.D.
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine New York University School of Medicine
WHAT EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO KNOW
Chapter 1. Your Heart's Health Is in Your Hands
One in every three women dies of heart disease . . . but you don't have to be the one.
Cardiovascular disease is the greatest health risk for women. It causes more deaths than all forms of cancer combined! The good news is that although these grim statistics exist today, they don't have to--because heart disease is largely preventable!
Women today can benefit from the huge advances made by medical research. So much more is known and understood about prevention and the incredible importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle than was the case even 20 years ago. Statistics show that if a woman reaches her 50s without developing the major risk factors for heart disease, she will face only an 8 percent lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease- as opposed to a 50 percent risk if she develops two of more risk factors. Young women today--if they choose a heart-healthy lifestyle--may live their entire lives without getting heart disease!
Our deepened understanding of the long-term impact of the food and activity choices we make every day is an enormous breakthrough. Today's young women can benefit from the lifesaving information your mothers and grandmothers didn't have. You can protect yourself against heart disease for a lifetime. The science on prevention is so powerful¾and so simple.
It's never too early to make your heart's health a priority. The earlier you start, the greater the benefit. An entire lifetime without heart disease is quite a payoff for eating your vegetables and exercising regularly.
Because heart disease is progressive and starts early in life and slowly escalates, older women also benefit from a healthy lifestyle. Controlling risk factors, eating right, being active, and working closely with your doctor can bring additional vitality and energy to your life.
With so much at stake, why isn't every woman leading a heart-healthy lifestyle? Because there are so many myths and misconceptions about heart disease that many women just don't understand they're at risk.