Women’s heart health awareness month
For decades, the diagnosis of heart disease has been an afterthought in the area of women’s health. Conventional thought led us to believe that heart disease was an issue more for men than their female counterparts. In reality, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease every year. That’s one woman every minute, according to the American Heart Association.
Heart disease strikes more women than men and claims more lives than all cancers combined. Knowing your personal risk factors is the first step in preventing one’s personal risk of heart disease. Risk factors include having a sedentary lifestyle, having an elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. Some women may also have a genetic predisposition to heart disease. Above all however, the one behavioral element that puts women, as well as men, at an elevated risk of heart disease is smoking.
The nicotine in cigarettes causes the user’s heart rate and blood pressure to elevate. Furthermore, the carbon monoxide in tobacco robs the smoker’s heart, brain and arteries of needed oxygen. Clotting risk is increased by tobacco because it damages the smoker’s blood vessels and makes their blood thicker. Individuals who smoke also have a decreased tolerance for physical activity which indirectly lowers an individuals HDL’s, the good cholesterol that helps the body manage the bad cholesterol (LDL’s). According to many researchers in the field of cardiology, smoking damages every tissue and organ in the human body.
This month, as we create awareness for heart disease, take action by eliminating a risk factor you can control, quit smoking. At Lebanon Family Health Services we are working with companies to implement tobacco free policies that include a research based tobacco cessation class for employees called Freedom From Smoking© and/or a “fax-to-quit” program. Services are free and are available at work sites. For more information, call Holly at 273-6741 ext. 310.