Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women.I know this because it killed my mother-in-law. I literally watched her die from it. Heart disease is why I stood in a dim hospital room, gripping my husband’s hand, not sure who was holding up who, as we watched her helplessly breathe her last breath. Heart disease is the one and only reason I have ever seen my husband cry.
Because of heart disease, my kids only have one grandma. Heart disease is the reason we buy purple flowers instead of presents on her birthday. We call her Grandma Angel instead of Gram, or Gigi or Meemaw because of heart disease. It is the reason my boys never met her and why she never held those sweet babies.Worst of all, heart disease and stroke are treatable and preventable. I should have my mother-in-law. My kids should have TWO grandmas. I never should have seen my husband cry.
1 in 3 woman. That’s one woman every 80 seconds. That means heart disease kills more women than all cancers combined. That’s downright frightening.
As part of American Heart Month, National Wear Red Day is February 3, 2017. Women are encouraged to wear red (the color of your heart) to bring awareness of heart disease. Women are encouraged to make a well visit to get their heart checked. All people are encouraged to donate to help fund research into heart disease and stroke.
I’m begging you to do one (or more) of these things. And while you’re at it, have your mom do so too. And your sisters and your friends. Get your heart checked. Learn more. Make your heart health a priority so you aren’t another statistic. It’s not just for you. It’s for your kids, your husband, and your grand-kids too.
But heart health awareness doesn’t stop on February 4th. You’ve got to keep going! According to the American Heart Association, even small changes can make a big impact. Suggestions include more exercise, healthier diet and stress management. Riiight, because we all have time for that. Instead, make a few small changes that will add up over time.
Try and find a different way to exercise: take your laundry upstairs with a few trips carrying handfuls instead of one trip with a basket, play airplane with your little one on your legs for a few seconds longer or check out GoNoodle.com with your toddler or preschooler. Get silly!
Diet changes are hard, but start small. Try half of a green pepper instead of a handful of Cheezits, use brown rice instead of white, or drink an extra glass of water.
Then there’s stress management – yikes! Pick one thing that drives you nuts and try and let it go. I stopped letting myself get mad about my boys not rinsing the sink after they brush their teeth. Do I scrub a little harder? Sure. Does it reduce yelling? Yep. Is it worth it? Absolutely. So find something you can let go, and listen to your inner Elsa! We always talk to our kids about making good choices, we need to do the same!
What suggestions do you have to make more heart healthy choices?