February is Go Red! for Heart Health month and I feel like I even though its only half-way through February, I am caught in a whirlwind of events supporting this campaign to promote heart health for women. Most recently, I had the pleasure of being asked to be a fitness model for an American Heart Association Go Red! fashion show that was hosted at a local church here in Winston Salem…
While I had an ABSOLUTE BLAST at this event, each year I continue to be perplexed by the number of Black women who do not realize their risk for heart disease. This is not going to be a long drawn out post with a bunch of statistics, but I want you all to know the 3 Most Important Things Every Black Woman Needs To Know About Heart Disease. And if you don’t read anything else, the last fact is the #1 Thing that has changed my perspective on how I live. Read on to find out what it is…
#1. Heart Disease is 80% PREVENTABLE, but is still the leading cause of death of women - especially Black women. There are huge health disparities in this nation that affect black women at hugely disproportionate rates than caucasian women, and heart disease is one of those disparities. There are a myriad of reasons why these disparities exist, which we could discuss for days, but the bottom line is this: heart disease is 80% Preventable. That means that many who have died could still be alive today if they would just make small changes to their lifestyles. I’m not saying you need to completely alter everything, but what I am saying is that every day you can decrease your risk by prioritizing your health (because you are worth it!):
- Do some intentional physical activity for at least 30 minutes (walk, bike, Zumba, do a fitness DVD, or something!) 5 days a week.
- Eat more fresh fruits and veggies. Limit red meats. Cut out processed foods and refined sugars.
- GET HELP! Learning to de-stress and live a healthy lifestyle. Its not easy to make changes to the way you live. But there are resources around you to help. Health Coaches can be a HUGE resource to helping you live a healthy lifestyle. Find out more about Fit Coaching here.
#2. ONLY 20% of Black Women BELIEVE they are personally at risk for Heart Disease… Even though 50% of Black Women HAVE Heart Disease. This one fact alone, has helped change my perspective on how I live. A lot of times, we live life thinking that things will never happen to us. And that things like this only happen to “other women.” But the truth is, it could be any one…even you. But that is why you must make your health as a top priority. Even though you may feel like you are in good health, if you have a family history, if you are not living a healthy lifestyle and if you are obese, the bottom line is you are at risk for heart disease. So even though many black women believe they are in good health, perception does NOT always equal reality. So in 2014… let’s no longer view heart disease as someone else’s issue. We are in this together – to support each other to live healthy, long lives. So if you have sisters, friends, daughters, or whoever, spread this message to them by clicking one of the Share Buttons below. Its time for us ALL to sound the alarm and support each other in living healthy lives.
#3. Women Experience Different Heart Attack Symptoms than Men. Did you know that tightness in the chest and pain shooting down your arm are not typically symptoms that women experience when having a heart attack? And many times, when women do experience some of the below symptoms, they are less likely to go to the doctor or call 911. But every minute counts. Some of the most common heart attack symptoms for women include:
- Shortness of breath
- Back Pain
- Jaw Pain
If you, or anyone you know begins to experience these symptoms – go to the doctor immediately. Remember, every minute counts.
Here’s to loving yourself and prioritizing your health- in mind, body and spirit- from 2014 and on! Happy Love Day, Beauties!
Statistics from American Heart Association