Heart Disease Prevention in Women

Wear Red Day!

February is Heart Health Awareness Month. The Campus Health Service would like to heighten your awareness of heart disease in women. It is the number one killer of women today. It claims the lives of almost 500,000 women each year. Thatís nearly one death every minute! These numbers do not reflect middle age and older women they reflect death from heart disease in women of all ages.

Wear something Red on February 2nd to show your support for educating and preventing heart disease in women.

Because heart disease can be prevented, the American Heart Association and 11 other organizations, are coming together to get the word out to women on how to decrease their risks. Lifestyle modifications that are strongly encouraged include: avoiding environmental smoke, donít smoke, and get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise (brisk walking) on most, if not all, days of the week. Weight control should be encouraged to achieve a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9 and a waist circumference below 35 inches. Dietary modifications include ensuring you have a wide variety of vegetables, grains, fruits, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, fish, legumes and sources of protein low in saturated fat.

Women, as well as men, should know what their blood pressure and cholesterol levels are. If elevated above normal limits, it should be evaluated by a health care practitioner and treated if needed. They should also know what their family history is for high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac diseases and high cholesterol. These can be treated with the above lifestyle modifications, but many times pharmacological agents are needed in addition to the measures above.

Cardiologists have developed guidelines to help health professionals provide the best preventative heart care for their female patients. Awareness, knowledge and action are by far the most important factors in saying goodbye (ALOHA) to the number one killer of women. (Http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/109/10/e158).

A– Assess your risk and rank yourself as high, intermediate or low risk.

L– Lifestyle Change

O– Other Interventions Prioritized by the Evidence Rating Scale. (Basically, if you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol: lower it, Diabetes: get numbers under control).

H– Highest Priority for Therapy is for Women at Highest Risk.

A– Avoid medical therapies called Class III therapies: (Hormone therapy for menopause has no benefit in preventing heart disease, Antioxidant supplements show no benefit either, and Aspirin for low-risk patients isnít recommended.)

See your medical provider on how to rank your risk and go through the Framingham risk assessment Calculator. (Http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/109/10/e158)

Questions? Call
UIS Campus Health Service (217)206-6676