Nearly 80% of cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are preventable. Yet heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for women in the U.S. It’s a message the American Heart Association spreads every February, recognized as American Heart Month, and throughout the year. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to help support the important work of the AHA by sponsoring events and amplifying the message to our employees, members and online community. Cardiovascular disease claims the lives of 1 in 3 women but it doesn't have to. Here are four simple steps to lower your risk:
- Be aware. Know your numbers (total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index) and talk to your doctor to lower your heart health risk.
- Move more. Federal guidelines and the AHA recommend women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week and perform strength training activities at least two days per week. Make physical activity a priority by joining the #GoRedGetFit team on Facebook and sharing with your friends.
- Eat smart. Many of the deaths caused by heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes are due to poor dietary habits, such as high sodium intake, high sugary drink consumption and low intake of fruits and vegetables. Find lots of healthy eating tips and recipes over on AHealthierMichigan.org.
- Manage blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, commit to monitoring it regularly. Read up on tips to monitor at home and to understand your numbers.
Over the years, the AHA has built an army of women willing to share their heart health stories. We've interviewed many Michigan-based women over the years. Their stories are very different, but all said advocating for more awareness of how heart disease impacts women has been a powerful part of their journeys. Read their stories here:
- Ashley’s Story: Facing Open Heart Surgery at 19
- Rosalind’s Story: Cardiac Nurse Loses 140 Pounds to Protect Her Heart
- Outrunning a Heart Condition
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