The Nutrition and Dietetic Professionals want you to Tell 5 and Save Lives. Keep your “Heart- Healthy.”  A message from the American Heart Association.

Go Red For Women

 In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention. In fact, many even dismissed it as an “older man’s disease.” To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional, social initiative to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

Go Red For Women encourages awareness of the issue of women and heart disease and action to save more lives. The movement utilizes women’s energy, commitment, and power to unite and wipe out heart disease. It challenges them to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their personal risk. It also gives them the tools they need to lead a heart-healthy life.

In 2010, the American Heart Association set a strategic goal of reducing death and disability from cardiovascular disease and strokes by 20% while improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% by 2020.

Go Red For Women targets women because only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer, and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. The Go Red For Women movement works to make sure women know they are at risk so they can take action to protect their health.

Tell 5 and Save Lives

Tell five family members and friends how they can get heart-healthy. Heart disease is still the No. 1 killer of women, taking the life of 1 in 3 women each year. This means women like you – mothers, sisters, friends – are dying at the rate of one per minute because they don’t know what you know: heart disease kills.

Just think: You could save lives by bringing your network to our network. And if your five tell five, your mission can eventually impact hundreds and thousands of women.

Life’s Simple Seven

Get Active

Finding time in our busy lives for exercise is challenging for all Americans. But the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices it takes to create time. The facts are clear: You can reduce your risk of heart disease by exercising for as little as 30 minutes daily. Without regular physical activity, the body slowly loses its strength and ability to function well. Physical activity = living a longer, healthier life.

Regular Physical Activity helps: Lower blood pressure, increase HDL “good” cholesterol in your blood, control blood sugar by improving how your body uses insulin, reduce stress, control body weight, and make you feel good about yourself.

Control Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a soft, fat-like, waxy substance in the bloodstream and all your body’s cells. It’s normal to have cholesterol. Cholesterol is important to a healthy body because it produces cell membranes and some hormones and serves other bodily functions. But too much cholesterol in the blood is a major risk for coronary heart disease (which leads to heart attack) and stroke.

Cholesterol comes from two sources: your body and food. Your liver and other cells make up about 75% of your blood cholesterol. The other 25% comes from the foods you eat.

LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol. Too much of it circulates in the blood and can clog arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke. LDL cholesterol is produced naturally by the body, but many people inherit genes that cause them to make too much. Eating saturated fat, trans fats, and dietary cholesterol also increases how much you have.

American Heart Association Recommendations:  Total blood cholesterol is the most common measurement of blood cholesterol. It’s the number you receive as test results. Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher puts you in a high-risk category and is cause to take action.

Eat Better

A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to fight cardiovascular disease. You may be eating plenty of food, but your body may not get the nutrients needed to be healthy. Nutrient-rich foods have vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients but are lower in calories. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often. The American Heart Association recommends eating a wide variety of nutritious foods daily from each basic food group.

Recommended Food Choice Guidelines: Vegetables and fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber; and lower in calories. Eating various fruits and vegetables may help you control your weight and blood pressure. Unrefined whole-grain foods contain fiber that can help lower your blood cholesterol and help you feel full. Eat fish at least twice a week. Recent research shows that eating oily fish containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, trout, and herring) may help lower your risk of death from coronary artery disease. Choose lean meats and poultry without skin and prepare them without added saturated and trans fat. Select fat-free, 1 percent fat, and low-fat dairy products. Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat. Aim to eat less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Aim to eat less than 1500 milligrams of sodium per day.

Heart Healthy Red Foods

Manage Blood Pressure

Hypertension (also known as High Blood Pressure) is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can injure or kill you. It’s sometimes called “the silent killer” because it has no symptoms. One in three adults has high blood pressure, yet, about 21% don’t even know they have it. Of those with high blood pressure, 69% receive treatment, yet, only 45% have their blood pressure controlled.

By keeping your blood pressure in the healthy range, you are:
* Reducing the risk of your vascular walls becoming overstretched and injured,
* Reducing your risk of your heart having to pump harder to compensate for blockages,
* Protect your entire body so that your tissue receives regular blood supplies rich in the oxygen it needs.

American Heart Association Guidelines: High blood pressure is manageable. These changes may reduce your blood pressure without using prescription medications: eating a heart-healthy diet, which may include reducing salt; enjoying regular physical activity; maintaining a healthy weight; managing stress; limiting alcohol; avoiding tobacco smoke.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Among Americans age 20 and older, 145 million are overweight or obese (BMI of 25.0 kg/m2 and higher). That’s 76.9 million men and 68.1 million women. Obesity is now recognized as a major, independent risk factor for heart disease. If you have too much fat — especially if a lot of it is at your waist – you are at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes.

If you’re overweight or obese, you can reduce your risk for heart disease by successfully losing weight and keeping it off. When developing a fitness and nutrition plan to lose weight, it’s crucial to understand your recommended calorie intake. And then the number of food calories you’re consuming versus the energy calories you’re burning off with different levels of physical activity. It’s balancing healthy eating (caloric energy) with the (molecular) energy that leaves your body through a healthy level of exercise.

Manage Blood Sugar

The American Heart Association considers diabetes one of the six major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes. Diabetes is treatable, but even when glucose levels are under control, it greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Most people with diabetes die of heart or blood vessel disease.

Pre-diabetes and subsequent type 2 diabetes usually result from insulin resistance. When insulin resistance or diabetes occurs with other CVD risk factors (such as obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, and high triglycerides), the risk of heart disease and stroke rises even more. Controlling glucose can slow the progression of long-term complications. Often, many small changes add up to surprising improvements in diabetes control, including less need for medication.

American Heart Association Guidelines:  When diabetes is detected, a doctor may prescribe changes in eating habits, weight control, exercise programs, and medication to keep it in check. It’s critical for people with diabetes to have regular check-ups. Work closely with your healthcare provider to manage your diabetes and control any other risk factors. For example, blood pressure for people with diabetes should be lower than 130/80 mm Hg.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is the most important preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis – the buildup of fatty substances in the arteries – which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction), and stroke. Smoking by itself increases the risk of coronary heart disease. When it acts with the other factors, it greatly increases your risk from those factors, too. Smoking decreases your tolerance for physical activity and increases blood clot tendencies. It decreases HDL (good) cholesterol. Your risks increase greatly if you smoke and have a family history of heart disease. Smoking also creates a higher risk for peripheral artery disease and aortic aneurysms. It also increases the risk of recurrent coronary heart disease after bypass surgery.

Contact Family Nutrition Center to schedule an appointment with our Registered Dietitians. Let us help you meet your health and nutrition goals.