February is all about matters of the heart. Be it Valentine’s Day, Healthy Heart Month, or National Wear Red Day. This year, Wear Red Day will be on February 3rd. So, get ready to put on some red, snap a selfie, and show other's and your own heart some love. If you are searching for something red to wear, check out our Red String Store!
Celebrated on the first Friday of February each year, National Wear Red Day was established in 2003 by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease in women. While the majority of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of 1 in 3 women.
For 20 years, Wear Red Day has encouraged women to be aware of risk factors pertaining to cardiovascular disease and the importance of building healthy habits.
Risk Factors for Women
Traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and elevated LDL cholesterol. But reproductive history has an impact on a woman's risk of heart disease as well:
Pregnancy: Many experience complications of pregnancy such as hypertension, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes or preterm delivery. Multiple studies have shown that these complications increase a person’s long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. Premature menopause is also a risk factor for heart disease.
Connective tissue disease: Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and mixed connective tissue disease also put you at higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Breast cancer treatment: Radiation and chemotherapy treatments used to treat breast cancer may increase the risk of heart disease.
Depression: Women are more likely than men to experience depression, which is known to be associated with heart disease.
Lowering the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
The good news is that by making modest changes to diet and lifestyle, people, regardless of gender, can lower the risk for cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Though we can’t control age or genetic factors, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce your risk of heart disease:
Carve out time for some exercise. Walking is easy and every step helps.
Eat more heart-healthy foods. Focus more on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose foods low in salt and sodium, added sugars, and saturated or trans fats.
Maintain a healthy weight. Eating sensible food portions and exercising can help. Here is a link to learn more about assessing your weight.
If you smoke, try your best to quit. Your heart will thank you!
According to 2018 guidelines from the American College of Cardiology, any amount of physical activity can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that both aerobic and strength training are beneficial to keeping your heart and brain healthy. However, if you haven’t worked out in some time, have a medical condition or are at risk for heart problems, it is best to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine. Consulting your doctor allows the two of you to develop the best exercise plan for you, while taking into consideration your age, physical condition, family history, and other key factors.
Even though everyone is encouraged to wear red on February 3, we, at Red String, believe so much in the power of red that we think everyday is a good day to wear something red as a constant reminder to always take care of your health first, show kindness to others, and never forget that with compassion and hope comes peace and healing.
So, before you leave the house, put on your favorite red shirt, shoe, pants, and/or accessories and help bring awareness to the importance of a healthy heart and soul. You owe it to your friends, your loved ones, and most importantly, you owe it to yourself.
(to be continued)