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Women's Heart News

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Issue date: Monday, May 05, 2014

In this issue you'll find stories about:

Love Your Own Heart Like You Love Others

Mother's Day is right around the corner-a day to honor all mothers and women for the contributions they make. As women, it seems to be hardwired into our DNA to be nurturing and caring to others. We put others' needs before our own selflessly. While this trait is admirable, it often means we aren't taking care of ourselves as well as we could be. To put ourselves first often seems selfish. For women, one of our challenges is learning how to care for ourselves while at the same time caring for others. It's definitely a balancing act, but at the same time doable.

As women, we have much work to do with taking care of our own hearts. Here are some of the latest findings:

 Heart disease remains the #1 cause of death of women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

 Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women's deaths each year (approximately one woman every minute).

 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

 Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.

 Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.

It's also interesting that even when women experience symptoms of a heart attack they may not always take action. In surveys, about 79% of women would call 911 if someone else was having a heart attack, but only about 50% of women were likely to call 911 themselves if they were experiencing the same symptoms.

To love your own heart, what's most important is deciding how you are going to live-with the goal to live healthier. There's a common saying "We would die for those we love." Better yet-Are we willing to live, and live healthy, for those we love?

Establishing heart-healthy habits has life-long rewards. Not only will you have a lower risk for chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, overweight/obesity, etc...but more importantly-a higher quality of life. Living heart healthy is going to help you feel better, give you more energy, improve sleep quality and lead to a higher quality of life. By taking care of yourself you'll be in the best position to nurture others and participate in all that life has to offer. When you stop and think about it, everyone benefits when a woman takes care of herself and makes her health a priority!

What can you do to love your heart and make your health a priority? There are eight things everyone can do that can make an enormous difference:

1. Eat healthy-mainly plant-based foods (vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains, nuts/nut butters, seeds), healthy fats (olive oil, nuts/nut butters, fish high in Omega-3 fats), and sensible portions. Limit refined carbohydrates (sugar, foods made from refined or enriched flours), trans fats, and highly processed foods/fast food.

2. Exercise regularly-aim for 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity exercise and two sessions of strength training each week. Sit less and move around more-all movement is good! Start small and gradually increase time and intensity. Some physical activity is better than none!

3. Know your cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting blood glucose, body-mass index (BMI) and waist circumference numbers. Take action if warranted.

4. If you smoke or use tobacco stop completely.

5. Manage stress-understand stress triggers and learn how to respond to stressful situations at home and at work. Techniques to reduce stress include deep breathing, visualization, meditation, exercise, and reducing negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones.

6. Do something fun or pleasurable each and every day. This one often seems to be tough for many women. Even if it's only 10 to 15 minutes, find some time to decompress and find solitude. When you make time for enjoyment, you'll be able to approach tasks with more energy and a better outlook.

7. Find a self-care buddy. Find someone supportive and agree that each of you will hold the other accountable. Brag to each other when you take care of yourself. Plan to call your buddy if you slip into over-caring for others.

8. Learn how to say NO! This one is often the toughest of all for women. When someone asks you to do something you don't really want to do, say no. Don't let the needs of others overshadow your own. Only you know how much you can handle without over-committing. Saying "no" to others means saying "yes" to yourself and establishes healthy boundaries with others.

This Mother's Day and beyond, love your own heart as much as you love others. Taking care of your own heart leads to a higher quality of life, and therefore, being able to care for others with full capability. How will YOU "live healthy" for those you love? The Karen Yontz Cardiac Awareness Center has many resources available to help you "live healthy." Call or visit us today!


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