Monday, February 4, 2013

American Heart Disease Month

Today's post is different than my typical posts, but I wanted to take this opportunity to to talk about a very important topic, Heart Disease. February is American Heart Month, so this is the perfect opportunity to share some information on the subject. 

I know some of my readers live outside the US, but Heart Disease is not an issue just for Americans (although I will be using US stats). Most of us know someone that has been or will be affected by Heart Disease. It's the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US, resulting in 1 in 4 deaths.

The American Heart Association's campaign, Go Red for Women, is celebrating it's 10th year, this year and is targeted at women to bring awareness of Heart Disease and its prevalence among women. I think it's a common misconception that it's primarily an issue that affects men, but as mentioned before, it's the leading cause of death among women, too. For women alone, it causes 1 in 3 deaths, which is approximately one woman every minute. It kills more women than all three of the next leading causes of death combined, that includes all forms of cancer.

The purpose of this post is not to scare anyone. I simply want to help raise awareness. With so many people being affected by Heart Disease, it's important to know what it is, who's at risk, how to lower your risk, and what are some warning signs for medical emergencies of Heart Attack, Stroke, and Cardiac Arrest. Knowing this information could help you or someone you love. Feel free to share this link with others or direct them to the American Heart Association or Go Red for Women for more information. 

Heart Disease is a canvas term used to describe several problems as they relate to the heart and buildup of plaque on artery walls. This causes a narrowing of the arteries and makes it more difficult for blood to flow. There are many conditions that fall under the category of Heart Disease. These include (but are not limited to) Heart Attack, Stroke, and Cardiac Arrest. 

People are at an Increased Risk of Heart Disease if they:
  • Have High blood pressure
  • Have High LDL cholesterol
  • Smoke
  • Have Diabetes
  • Are Overweight or Obese
  • Have a poor diet
  • Are physically inactive
  • Drink excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Have high stress

If you or someone you love is at an increased risk for Heart Disease there are things that can be done. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle can help to lower your risk. Smokers are at a higher risk for Heart Disease than non smokers and are two to three times more likely to die from Heart Disease than non smokers. In addition to smoking cessation, some of the best things you can do is to change your diet and exercise habits. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables and cut back or cut out fatty foods. Daily exercise such as walking to get your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes a day will not only elevate your heart rate, but it will help you to shed some weight too. 

If you are looking for specific tips, the American Heart Association has some great advice on getting healthy. It includes a Nutrition Center with recipes and helpful diet guidelines, tips on Stress Management (I've been reading these!), resources to help you Quit Smoking, and more. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 935,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. Do you know the warning signs of a Heart Attack? Actress Elizabeth Banks teamed up with Go Red for Women and made a video, "Just a Little Heart Attack," that shows the warning signs that women may experience when having a Heart Attack. Take a moment to check it out and share it. 

Do you know the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack?

Chest Pain/ Discomfort: 
Pain in the center of the chest can feel like pressure to the point of being uncomfortable, squeezing, or fullness. The pain can last for more than a few minutes or may temporary go away and then return again. 

Pain in Upper Body:
Most people are familiar with arm pain association with a heart attack. One or both arms may feel pain or discomfort, but also pain can be felt in the neck, jaw, stomach or back. 

Shortness of Breath:
You may experience shortness of breath in addition to chest pains or without ever experiencing chest pains. 

Other Signs:
Nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats can be experienced

What to do?
Call 911 (or emergency services number in your country) immediately if you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack. Immediate action will help increase a persons chance of surviving a heart attack so they can receive emergency treatment as soon as possible. 

Do you know the Warning Signs of a Stroke?
How to spot a stroke F.A.S.T.:

Face Drooping:
Is one side of the face drooping or numb? Try smiling or asking the person you suspect to be having a stroke to smile. This will help you see quickly if there is an issue with face drooping.

Arm Weakness:
Is your arm weak or numb? Try to raise both arms or ask the person you suspect to be having a stroke to raise both arms. Do both arms raise normally or does one drift downward?

Speech Difficulty:
Is the speech slurred? Are you or the person you suspect to be having a stroke unable to speak or understand? Can they repeat a simple sentence? 

Time to call 911:
If any of these symptoms are present call 911 (or emergency services number in your country) and get to the hospital immediately. Symptoms may go away, but you still need to get to the hospital for immediate medical attention. 

Do you know the Warning Signs of Cardiac Arrest?
Sudden Loss of Responsiveness:
A person has no response, even when tapping on the shoulders.

No Normal Breathing:
A person isn't taking normal breaths when you tilt their head up and check for five seconds. 

What to do:
  • Call 911 (or emergency services number in your country) immediately.
  • Begin CPR immediately and continue until emergency medial services arrive.
  • Use Automated External Defibrillator (AED) if one is available. 
  • If two people are available, have one person start CPR immediately while the other calls 911 and looks for an AED. 

I hope you found this information helpful, if so, please pass it along. 

Wednesday will be part one of my four part Valentine's Day Look series. Be sure to subscribe and check back to see all four parts of the look: Nails, Outfit, Makeup, and Hair. 


  1. great post! I found this really helpful, thankyou! :) followed x

    1. Thank you and thanks for subscribing! I just checked out your blog :)


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