It’s a common misperception that heart disease shouldn’t be considered as a serious threat among women.
Despite statistics from the American Heart Association showing that one in three U.S. women die from heart disease - making it the leading cause of death for American women - only 20 percent of women say they believe that heart disease is the greatest threat to their health.
The UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services has joined the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign to raise awareness for women’s heart disease prevention. In addition to a student poster contest, mix and mingle event, and social media campaign, the College will participate in National Wear Red Day. CHHS faculty and staff ask that every member of the UNC Charlotte campus community join them in this show of support for women by wearing red on Friday, Feb. 1.
Thanks to heart health awareness campaigns, such as the Go Red for Women Campaign - which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year - 21 percent fewer women die from heart disease, and 23 percent more realize that heart disease is the biggest threat to their health.
Manage Your Risk
Heart disease doesn’t just affect older adults. Women in their 20s and 30s continuously make health choices - from birth control methods to diet - that can increase their short- and long-term risk for heart disease. Women who take birth control pills and smoke, for example, may increase their heart disease risk by 20 percent, according to the American Heart Association.
So what can you - or your wife, sister or daughter - do to ensure heart health now and in the future? The American Heart Association lists these tips for women of all ages:
- Know the numbers (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level) that impact your heart health. Make an effort to keep these numbers at healthy levels.
- Check your family history. Some forms of heart disease may be symptoms of genetic disorders.
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke.
- Drink in moderation.
- Choose your method of birth control carefully. Some forms pose a higher risk for heart disease than others.
- Tame your stress. Adrenaline released into your blood stream by your body can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. Constant stress prevent your heart from resting, damaging your arteries’ walls.
- Make your health a priority.
- Choose your method of birth control carefully.
- Strive for balance and less stress.
- Make your well-being a priority.
- See your doctor for regular checkups.
- Monitor any changes in your body and keep an open dialogue with your doctor.
- Know the numbers (weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level) that impact your heart health.
- Watch what you eat.
- Continue to exercise.
60s and beyond
- Know your risk by continuing to attend doctor’s appointments.
- Keep moving.
Additional information about the campaign can be found on the College of Health and Human Services' website.