So tomorrow is the first day of February, which means I am in the last few days before the National pageant! YAY! What's so great about the month of February is that the Go Red for Women's Heart Health day is in it! What better month to celebrate a healthy heart than the month that is centered around love! I love the Go Red for Women campaign and have held a special place in my heart (get it!) for the last few years! I started getting involved with the American Heart Association through the International Pageant system since it is their National platform and have loved being a part of it ever since.
Reality check: did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women?! It causes 1 in 3 deaths each year, which equals out to loosing one beautiful woman EVERY MINUTE! That is no good in my book! So, what can we do to prevent this? Well, there are several things we as women can do to help ourselves.
*Stay active. Exercise is a must to keep that blood flowing in our bodies. So you don't have time for a full gym workout. That's okay, do little things. I have a stand up desk at work that keeps me moving versus sitting for 8 hours and Eric likes to make fun of me because I do 125-150 squats every morning while I'm curling my hair. (Okay, I get it, it is funny if you walk by and see a have curled head doing squats in the bathroom in jammies but it works!)
*Keep your blood pressure down. High blood pressure can be caused by stress, weight, poor eating habits, you name it. If you have high blood pressure, take your medicine and talk to you doctor on ways to reduce it!
*DO.NOT.SMOKE. I cannot stress this enough, don't do it, don't start it, just don't do it. Once you start it's hard to stop. Pound this into your kids heads. If you think social smoking is okay, it's not. No ma'am...plus it's not attractive and in a lot of cases now, adds fines to your insurance!
*Know your family history! If you have a long line of heart disease the odds are in your ballpark that you, too, will have an issue. Talk to your Doctor and know the signs so you are prepared.
*Eat healthy! I know we all deserve to cut ourselves a break here and there, but not all the time. Eat a salad, grill your chicken instead of frying it, add some fruit to your side dishes, and drink a little more water. I love some of the slogans now that tell you to replace one thing a day with a healthy item. The little things make a big difference in the long run!
*Lower your cholesterol. Yep, cholesterol is good for you, but only the good stuff your liver produces. We get more than we need from eating meats and full fat dairy. The high fat contents are also high in saturated and trans fats which cause your liver to produce more cholesterol than it should. Oils can also do this! Try getting reduced fat dairy and leaner meats. Fish is also a good alternative. If you have never tried the flavor tuna packets, do try! Might I recommend the sweet and spicy or the hot buffalo! YUM-O!
My resources for backup!
So why is this important to me? Well, one I am a woman and two, I have a family history of heart disease so I know I have to keep a close eye and know the signs. The above picture was just days after I lost my Nana to...you guessed it...congenital heart failure. She survived a stroke shortly before I was born and a major heart attack in 2010 and was able to come back from that and live a somewhat normal life for several more years. Shortly before her heart attack she kept having heart burn. She was drinking Dr. Pepper every day to try to control it. After the fact we found out she had been having mini heart attacks all that time she thought it was heartburn and it was leading up to the big enchilada that happened on the eve of July 4, 2010. Thank goodness she recognized something was wrong and called my parents. They called the ambulance in the middle of the night and she was airlifted to Augusta in the early morning hours. After 11 days in cardiac ICU she was able to be moved back to our local hospital and MAN was she itching to get home by then. It was then we knew she was fighting! She never was able to drive again (though I've heard stories of her driving her Cadillac down the driveway to check the mail just to prove she could drive here and there ;-P) but she had some sweet ladies that carted her wherever she needed to go, especially the Country Buffet! Eventually her health declined and we lost her in May of 2017 but I am so thankful that her will to live and fight kept her with us for 7 more years and long enough to know her great grand boys, whom in her opinion, could do no wrong! I hope that kind of fight is in me (as well as my other grandmother, my Meme!!) when I get older!
So tomorrow, put on that red shirt, red dress, or bright red shoes and tell your heart that you will not give up on keeping her healthy. Keep her beating strong for your hubby, your kids, your grandkids, your girlfriends, your mama and daddy, your siblings, and YOU! Make healthy choices and go to the doctor regularly for your wellness checks. If something does not feel right, say something! It is not normal to have pains, constant heartburn, or fainting spells. If someone you know complains of issues, make them go and don't let them wait. Tomorrow could be too late and there is someone in this world who's heart beats for you so keeps yours beating for them! GO RED!