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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Red for Life

This Friday, February 5, is "National Wear Red Day," an initiative spearheaded by the American Heart Association to increase public awareness that heart disease is the number one health threat to women in the United States. Traditionally, heart disease has been thought of as "a man's disease," but the reality is that 23% of women who are 40 years of age and older will die within 1 year of a heart attack compared to only 18% of men. Many women believe that they have a greater risk of dying from breast cancer. However, a woman is almost twice as likely to die from a cardiovascular event (heart disease or stroke) than she is from cancer (all forms combined). The death rate from cardiovascular disease is substantially higher (74%) in women ages 35-74 who are black compared to those who are white.

Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease:
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Age
  • Family history
  • Race
Other Risk Factors for Women:
  • Birth control pills
  • Elevated triglyceride levels appear to pose a greater risk of heart disease for women than for men
Symptoms of a Heart Attack:
  • Chest discomfort (e.g., fullness, pressure, squeezing, numbness, burning, etc.,)
  • Pain or discomfort (e.g., numbness, tingling, etc.,) in the arms (typically the left), jaw, neck, and/or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness/lightheadedness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sweating
Cardiovascular Disease and Gender:
  • Women are more likely than men to experience back discomfort, jaw pain, shortness of breath, and nausea and vomiting
  • Health care professionals tend to attribute women's symptoms to non-cardiac causes compared to men who present with similar symptoms
  • Women delay seeking medical attention more often than do men
  • For nearly 2/3 of women, the first sign of cardiovascular disease is sudden death (i.e., they had no previous symptoms)
  • Certain diagnostic tests, such as an exercise stress test, are not as reliable at detecting cardiovascular disease in women
  • After a heart attack, women are less likely than men to receive proper medication therapy known to increase chances of survival (e.g., aspirin, beta blockers, and ACE inhibitors)
  • Women typically respond more favorably to healthy lifestyle changes compared to men
Cardiovascular disease is largely preventable if you follow a healthy lifestyle. It is important that you identify your individual risk factors for the development of heart disease and discuss an appropriate plan of action with your physician. Daily physical activity, smoking cessation, stress management, consuming a diet low in fat, especially saturated and trans-fats, and maintaining a healthy body weight are all ways that you can reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and improve your well-being.

This Friday, join thousands of Americans by choosing to wear red in support of the fight against heart disease in women. For more information visit

"Women and Heart Disease Fact Sheet" distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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