- The Washington Times - Friday, February 2, 2018

People around the country are wearing red on Friday and while it’s not to an early Valentine’s celebration, it is to raise awareness about our hearts, women’s heart health to be exact.

Started in 2004, “Go Red For Women” is an annual campaign to bring attention that heart disease, while the No. 1 cause of death in the nation, is also the No. 1 killer of women, with one in four dying from heart complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s also the No. 1 killer for African-American and white women, and has equal death rates to cancer for Latina women.

The American Heart Association (AHA), which launched the campaign, seeks to raise $2 million for educational outreach and research.

Diabetes, being overweight or obese, a poor diet, limited physical activity and excessive alcohol use are all risk factors greatly increasing the likelihood of a cardiac event.



Health experts recommend people to speak to their doctors about a number of issues that can help limit the chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Last year, the AHA released updated guidelines for blood pressure screening, putting healthy blood pressure as below 120/80.

The first and higher number is the systolic pressure, or the rate at which your blood flows through arteries when the heart is pumping. Diastolic pressure is the lower number and indicates how quickly blood flows when the heart is resting between beats.

High blood pressure is considered 140/90 and is indicative of a potential heart attack or stroke.

The AHA recommends that all women schedule an annual physical with their doctor, called a “Well-Women visit” and points out that preventive services are covered under Medicaid and Medicare with no co-pay.

Getting key information on your individual blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index can help determine the risk of a cardiac event. Keeping those numbers in healthy ranges significantly reduces the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. No smoking, reducing alcohol, eating well and exercising are all lifestyle choices that can help improve health.

• Laura Kelly can be reached at lkelly@washingtontimes.com.

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