Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women.
Long thought of as a malady that strikes mostly the male population, cardiovascular disease, which leads to heart attacks and strokes, claims the life of one of every three women, but according to a survey by the American Heart Association (AHA), only about half of all women are aware it is the leading cause of death in women.
That is why the AHA started an awareness drive titled Go Red For Women back in 2003 and it has designated February as “heart month” to continue the focus, not only for women, but the growing number of men facing the disease as well. The agency has designated Friday, February 5, as National Wear Red Day, to bring the issues of heart health into the national conversation, according to a story on usnews.com.
Particularly in women, historical factors that may contribute to heart disease are sometimes overlooked during regular visits with a physician, including elevated blood pressure during pregnancy, or a history of high blood pressure. New research has shown a link between pregnancy complications such as pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes, and an increased risk of heart disease, that may not manifest itself for many years after the birth of a child.
Nearly one of every 10 pregnant women in the United States have their pregnancies complicated by the onset of gestational diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease and Control’ s report from 2014. For most, the complication resolves itself after giving birth, but the women’s health can be affected long afterwards.
The AHA is urging women to talk to their physicians about their heart health history, and in particular during pregnancy, and especially of they are not seeing the same doctor as they were using during those years. The association is also making doctors aware they should be asking their patients about their pregnancy histories during initial visits.
The AHA advises women to know their numbers when it comes to preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, including blood pressure, cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels, and to be sure to discuss these numbers with your physician.
And be sure to wear red on this Friday, but also continue to make heart-healthy life style choices all year round, such as being active, getting regular examinations, and eating a heart-healthy diet.