The month of February, although short, has many milestones in it. Starting with February 2, we get to watch a groundhog in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania determine how long our winter will last (six more weeks) by the shadow he casts. It is very scientific! And this month we celebrate African American history.
Next on the agenda is my personal favorite; the Go Red for Women campaign to bring awareness to women’s heart health. As we know women experience heart attacks and strokes differently from men and it is important to recognize the symptoms.
However, heart health is for everyone as we see athletes, such as 24-year-old Damar Hamlin, suffering a cardiac arrest on the playing field, a few weeks ago. Thanks to his age and the swiftness of the medical team to administer CPR he had a positive outcome and is back to playing football. This month he is spearheading a challenge to raise awareness around CPR.
On a personal note, my husband, Sean, experienced a cardiac arrest at the tender age of 39, almost 20 years ago. I know from experience, you call 911 first, open the front door, start administering CPR, and hope the emergency medical team has an AED (automated external defibrillator) to shock his heart back into rhythm. I encourage everyone to learn CPR because you want to know what to do when someone you love needs it.
The entire month of February is Heart Health Month, so this is a perfect time to take steps to get a checkup as heart disease is the number one cause of death for women in the United States. We all know that we women are last on the list when it comes to caretaking. Yes, I am looking at you. You take care of your spouse, partner, children, parents, friends and pets, before you consider your needs, am I right?
And I bet you didn’t know this about hypertension (high blood pressure):
1. It can lead to dementia, if left unmanaged in middle age, from age 40 to 66.
2. Young people can have hypertension too, with nearly 1 in 4 young adults aged 20 to 44 having high blood pressure. Incidents of stroke are on the rise and it may be a direct result of metabolic syndrome (obesity, high blood pressure, and adult onset diabetes).
3. It is a “silent killer” and most people with high blood pressure don’t have symptoms, so it is good to get it checked and establish a baseline.
4. 1 in 3 adults, being asymptomatic, don’t know they have it, therefore they are not controlling it.
5. There are unique risks associated with women and African Americans with high blood pressure. For example, women with high blood pressure in pregnancy may have complications, such as harm to the mother’s kidneys or premature delivery. Some types of birth control can increase a woman’s risk of high blood pressure. Both African American men and women have higher rates of hypertension than other racial or ethnic groups, and may be more likely to be hospitalized for high blood pressure.
Surprising? There’s more. Sleep can also affect your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart disease, so do what you can to get enough restful sleep each night. If you need tips, contact me.
Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you, but when I hear that as a nation, our life expectancy is dropping, I can’t help but think we need to change how we operate. Yes, some of that had to do with the pandemic, however most industrialized nations have since bounced back and trending back upwards. We are on a trajectory down, fueled by unhealthy lifestyles that include obesity, diabetes, and more sinister things such as gun violence and drug overdoses for younger adults.
The good news is there is so much we can do to Get well, live well, age well– the foundation of my wellness coaching. Check out this month's events:
Thursday February 9 at 8pm: Mindful Eating 101 – includes how to make a Buddha Bowl
Register here for this FREE workshop
Monday February 21 through Friday February 25: Mindful Cleanse – no sugar, no gluten, no caffeine, no processed food
And group walks are starting back up in March, starting Saturday, March 4, details soon.
Here’s a recipe for you to try that will make your heart love you!