So, I know that it seems like every month is “[Fill in the blank] Awareness Month,” including a certain day where you’re supposed to wear a certain color to show your support of that cause. To me, those are always annoying, even if it’s a cause that I do care about. I’m’a wear whatever color I want to, okay? So I’m not going to do that, but I am going to bring attention to the fact that February has been decided as American Heart Month, and while you could wear red on Friday the 5th, you really don’t have to as far as I am concerned.
What I do want to see is heart health become a cause that people show as much passion for as breast cancer awareness. We all know that in October you buy pink spatulas to raise money for research and that you’re supposed to feel up your boobs for abnormal lumps.Because breast cancer awareness became such a thing, early detection is on the rise, and the survival rate for stages 1-3 is incredibly high. That’s amazing! So now my wish is for us as a society to focus on what’s beneath those boobies, because that is where the news is
not so good awful.
Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women in America. That makes it the number one killer of women, more than all cancers combined.
I want to use my blog as a platform to talk about this because this means that it is very likely that at least a few women you know will die from heart disease or stroke. I’m sorry if that’s a little morbid, but it’s a reality we cannot ignore. It hits very close to home for me, because I have several risk factors, including chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) and a father who died young of a massive heart attack. I take medication to manage my blood pressure, but I know that I could be doing more to keep my heart healthy.
I can’t exactly be preachy here, because I need to get my ass off the couch just as badly as the next person. And since I’m pregnant, now is not exactly the time to begin some intense work out routine. What I AM doing is making a focused effort to include more short walks in my day. My fitbit helps to remind me that I need more steps, and so sometimes at work I will take an extra walk around campus to just get some fresh air and get some extra steps. And really, it’s the little things — taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing jumping jacks and squats during the commercials of your favorite show– the little things that add up in your day. And when I think about how making these activities a habit can add years to my life, well, it’s a no-brainer to me. I want to be around to see as much as possible of my soon-to-be son.
So what I ask of you, you who may be reading this blog, is to look for something that you can incorporate into your daily life to help keep your heart healthy. Taking your dog for a longer walk, riding your bike somewhere, doing lunges while watching tv, dancing around your house while you clean, shoveling snow, hell, even having sex are all good for you. Don’t be afraid to check your blood pressure– remember, data is better than being in the dark. Maybe what I am asking of you is not as sexy at groping our boobs to prevent breast cancer, but remember that there is so much that we can do to change the rate at which heart disease kills women.