When we think of February what comes to mind is the color red and the shape of a heart. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner on February 14th. We often give chocolates and cards to the ones we love, which includes our husbands, friends, family and co-workers. However, there is also another reason to wear the color red during February. It is also Heart Disease Awareness month.
Heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases are the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
But it doesn’t affect all women the same. According to American Heart Association.the warning signs for women aren’t the same as men.
It is important to understand the most common warning signs of a heart attack. It could safe your life or someone you love. Some heart attacks can be sudden and intense. Others can start slow with some discomfort and mild pain.
Here are some signs to protect yourself:
1. Chest discomfort: The pain can come and go, that is why it is important to not ignore. Pay attention. If it becomes more uncomfortable and/or if you feel any tight pressure or pain than you should probably call 9-1-1.
2. Discomfort in your upper body and other areas of your body: Pain and discomfort can be in the arms (one or two), your stomach, back, neck or jaw. Pay attention to all of these areas.
3. Shortness of breath: This is something that you may not pay attention to but is significant. It is important and may come and go, It can come with or with-out chest discomfort.
4. Waring signs: You may not feel yourself. You can feel light headed, nauseous, and/or break out is a sweat (most likely a cold sweat).
According to the AHA, if you or someone you are with has 1 or more of these signs, call 9-1-1 right away. Never drive yourself if you are having these symptoms and don’t let the person you are with drive either.
Here are ways to prevent heart disease:
1. Get Moving! Having a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. If you have a job where you sit most of the day, you should get up and walk around as much as possible. Hire a trainer, find an exercise you like, and take movement seriously. It could save your life. If you sit at work get up at least every 1/2 hour to 1 hour and move about for 5 minutes. Also talk to your HR person about how you can make your work station a standing station so your not sitting all the day at work. Try to aim for 150 minutes of cardio a week, that is about 2 1/2 hours of moderate physical activity each week. Walking is a great way to get moving, can start with 10 minutes and work up to 20 or more. It doesn’t have to been done all at once either, 10 minutes, 3 times a day rather than all at once.
2. Know Your Numbers for your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting glucose. Every women should know this information. If you don’t know or choose to not know then you could be at risk. Being in denial is sometimes easier for us but not in the best interest for our health. We at OC Fitness Mama we encourage our clients to get an annual physical and blood work. Your body changes and your blood work does too, knowing this information is vital to how you can navigate your life. Having a weekly exercise program and having healthy eating habits is necessary to your overall well-being.
3. Lose Weight If Necessary: Extra weight isn’t good for your body or your heart. If you need to lose weight, do it slowly an start with a walking program and make better choices with your food. You can move more and eat less. Add weight training and cardio exercise to your weekly schedule and be consistent. You will feel better and hopefully lose weight.
4. Stop Smoking: If you smoke, it’s time to stop an unhealthy habit. Talk to your doctor about how to quit smoking.
5. Decrease Stress: Decrease stress through yoga, deep breathing, stretching and communication. These are all ways to decrease stress, they are all easy to add to your exercise plan and are very important. Find ways to talk to the ones you love and at your work it is important not to hang on to things.It affects your heart and can take a toll.
Happy Valentines and Heart Month!
OC Fitness Mama