(CARLSBAD, CA) – It’s time to paint the town red! The American Heart Association has declared National Wear Red Day on the first Friday in February to draw attention to women’s heart health. Increased focus is being paid to women’s heart disease, particularly since more women than men die every year from heart-related conditions.
Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. The American Heart Association estimates that more than 8 million women are currently living with heart disease. Fortunately, unlike most other major health maladies, heart disease is almost completely preventable.
Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett, a passionate advocate for women’s health, suggests that women take charge of their own heart health. Be proactive, learn the warning signs, and talk to your doctor. While you’re at it, put these three tests on your “to do” list:
1. Blood Pressure – Every woman should get her blood pressure checked on a yearly basis, more often if you are diabetic, pregnant, or have a history of high blood pressure. Then, pay attention to the results! A normal reading is below 120/80. Your doctor will tell you if your blood pressure is high (over 140/90), but you should also be on the lookout for the in-between stage. The University of California at San Francisco reports that 20 percent of people under age 35 have pre-hypertension, with blood pressure between the normal and high ranges (somewhere between 120/80 and 139/89).
2. Cholesterol – Even if you’re thin, trim, and fit, get your cholesterol checked every few years. Family predisposition plays a major role in your cholesterol levels. A simple blood test can determine your HDL (good) and LDL (bad) levels of cholesterol. Your HDL should be above 60, and your LDL should be below 100. If your levels don’t hit the mark, start making changes in your diet, such as the elimination of trans fats, and talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of cholesterol-reducing medication.
3. EKG & Stress Test – An electro-cardiogram produces a reading of the rhythm and the strength of your heart. Electrodes are connected to your chest, arms, and legs to keep tabs on your heart. You can also have your heart activity gauged by an EKG machine while you will walk on a treadmill, called a stress test. Your doctor will likely recommend such a test if you have any risk factors for heart disease, especially if you are over age 40. But, don’t be shy. Even if your doctor doesn’t make the recommendation, ask her if you are a potential candidate for a stress test.
Remember that you are the only person who can take control of your heart health. Treatment of heart disease is time sensitive, which means that early action and prevention are vital.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,500 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in the U.S. and around the globe. Since 1969, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.