| Fri, Feb 07, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

Go Red—and Celebrate Your Heart

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

how to prevent heart diseaseFebruary is American Heart Month. What do you know about heart disease and women?  Consider these facts:

  • Heart disease is the #1 cause of death among women in the U.S.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year is caused by heart disease. (This includes heart diseases and strokes.) Compare that with breast cancer, which is responsible for about 1 in 30 deaths for women each year.
  • Actually, heart disease kills more women each year than cancer, lung disease, Alzheimer’s disease and accidents—combined.
  • About 24% of men who have a heart attack die within a year. For women, the figure is significantly higher: 42%.1

The fact is that many women aren’t aware of the possible risks of heart disease to their general health. That’s why the American Heart Association created Go Red for Women. The initiative aims to raise awareness and empower women to take charge of their heart health, with the goal of saving lives.

So, how can you “go red” and take steps to take care of your heart—and encourage the women close to you to do the same? Here are some ideas:

1. Wear red. Friday, Feb. 7 is the 10th anniversary of National Wear Red Day®. So wear some red clothing with pride. And do you part to raise awareness of the threat heart disease to women’s health with friends, family and acquaintances.

2. See your doctor. Schedule your Annual Wellness Visit with your doctor. It’s a great opportunity to discuss your health care needs and create a plan for prevention and wellness.

3. Eat a healthy diet. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. And eat less sodium (salt), saturated fats and red meat.

4. Get active. Getting more physical activity can make a big difference in helping your heart work better.

5. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases your risk of heart disease. If you smoke, make a plan to quit.

6. Take your medicine. If your doctor has prescribed medication for diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, fill the prescription and take the medicine. If you can’t for some reason, call your doctor to talk. Not taking it could put you in danger.

This February, as you see all the pink and red hearts for Valentine’s Day, take a minute to consider your own heart, and what you can do to protect its health. After all, if you make changes to take care of your heart, it’ll have an easier time taking care of you.

1All statistics in this section are taken from Women and Heart Disease, AARP Health & Wellness, 2011.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

Resources:

Medicare Memo: Women, Protect Your Heart Health: Read this earlier Medicare Made Clear blog post on women and the risks of heart disease.

Medicare.gov: Find out which cardiovascular disease screenings are covered by Medicare.

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