Why I Go Red For My Heart Year Round

Just like that, summer is over! If your family is like mine, it feels like we just finished packing away our winter coats, folding up our sweaters and blankets and putting our snow boots away for the season. Hopefully we’ve all been slowing down just a little bit more – living in our flip flops, stopping to water (and smell) the flowers, enjoying some fresh fruit and veggies and taking long walks with our families.

At the beginning of the summer I know I had the best intentions of doing just that but somehow, here we are, staring down the advent of another hectic fall and holiday season, and I have only managed to do about half of what I promised myself I’d do for my own health and well-being.

And I’m not alone. Today’s women are bombarded with mixed messages about health, exercise, dieting, body image and managing work schedules. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to navigate it all. It’s no wonder that, since 1984, heart disease has killed more women than men in our nation: about one in three women each year.

In Northwest Ohio and across the nation, 90% of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease. This means women you know – your mothers, sisters, daughters and friends – have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes, are overweight or obese, live sedentary lifestyles or consume tobacco products.

More common, but often less addressed is stress, a risk factor from which many of us suffer, particularly as we enter this busy time of year. Stress may seem innocuous but, in reality, it can make you sick by causing your blood pressure to rise and damage your arteries.

So as we say goodbye to summer, as we deflate our pool floats, put away our shorts and prepare for the cooler weather, how can we make this upcoming season a healthier time, not only for our families but also for ourselves.

Remember that studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying per day from heart disease. I think it’s huge that we have an opportunity to make an impact on our own health. We still have many months remaining of nice weather to take advantage of outdoor activities. So I plan to walk a little bit more, include more in-season fruits and vegetables in my daily diet, make my annual well-woman appointment with my doctor and get my numbers, and take time to stop and enjoy everything the season has to offer. Because I know my heart, and those I love, will thank me for it.

Another way to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement is to attend their Purses with a Purpose event on Thurs., Sept. 15. Enjoy a new and gently-used handbag auction, learn how to make your heart health a priority, and network with other women at Registry Bistro. For additional information and to register, please visit the ProMedica website. You can find additional information about heart disease in women at www.goredforwomen.org.

Beth professional highBeth Langefels has been the communications and marketing director for the Miami Valley and Northwest Ohio Divisions of the American Heart and American Stroke Associations since 2006.