The national event raises awareness of the importance of cardiovascular health.
- Posted on Feb 5, 2020
The National Women’s Heart Week, organized by the Women’s Heart Foundation (WHF), is celebrated annually from February 1-7 with the goal of helping women improve their overall health and decrease their chances of getting heart disease.
According to the foundation, although many people associate heart problems with men, this disease is actually the number one killer of women over the age of 34 in the U.S. Participants are encouraged to wear a purple ribbon and focus on a different aspect of heart health each day.
Here is the foundation’s schedule, along with a few tips for evaluating and improving your heart health. As always, consult with a doctor to determine what actions are best for you.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) some common risk factors for heart disease are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sedentary lifestyle and smoking.
The WHF offers an online screening test to further assess your risk.
One of the best things you can do for your heart—and for your health—is exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that regular physical activity can reduce a women’s risk of heart disease by as much as 40 percent. The college recommends combining intense aerobic activity with strength training for optimum benefits.
The same foods that are good for your health are good for your heart. The Office on Women’s Health (OWH) offers several tips for boosting your heart health:
o Fill half of your plate with fruits or vegetables
o Eat whole grains
o Consume healthy fats, like fish and nuts
Stress can be extremely detrimental to heart health. The Women’s Health Study found that stress could increase a women’s risk of heart problems by 40 percent. The good news is that adding exercise and eating healthier can decrease stress. Harvard University also recommends getting enough sleep and incorporating meditation to help increase your calm.
The WHF stresses the importance of making sure your medications are not negatively impacting your health. They recommend using this day to make a list of all your medications and pledge to keep these updated.
Self-management is a theory that helps people managing—or seeking to prevent—chronic illnesses to take more ownership of their health care. The Journal of the American Heart published a study explaining that self-management “involves a process of observing oneself for changes in signs and symptoms—body listening.” Analyzing your current health situation and the habits you need to maintain to maximize your heart health, will help set you up for success in the future.
The OWH has reported that women with low self-image suffer more health maladies. This is why National Women’s Heart Week wraps up with a focus on improving individual self-esteem and mental health. Celebrate the positive, accomplishments in your life.