It’s the month of love, when our hearts celebrate the significant other in our lives. Whether you’re single, dating, or hitched, February is much more than just the anticipated month for romantic hopefuls it’s also Heart Health awareness month and it draws attention, specifically, to a woman’s heart.

Heart in hands

A Woman’s Heart Matters Young Or Old

February 1st through until 7th is women’s heart health awareness week. Whether you’re 22 or 42, heart health doesn’t discriminate in terms of age, and we should all be aware of prevention. Young women can be at risk of experiencing early heart problems and studies show lifestyle plays a big role in overall heart health.

Being overweight can cause strain on the heart, and in North America, girls as young as 6 through 19 are more overweight than the rest of the world by 15 percent. In fact, the U.S. is home of the highest number of obese people compared to other countries. Heart health is becoming increasingly more common in younger women and girls. Meanwhile, a whopping 90 percent of high school students in the United States are reported to not get enough exercise to remain healthy.

If you’re a sufferer of Endometriosis, you should also be keeping a close eye on your heart health. Women diagnosed with Endometriosis are 400 percent more likely to experience heart problems, than those without a diagnosis. Scary! We know! So make sure you and your doctor are keeping an eye on your heart, to keep it happy and healthy for many Valentine’s to come!

Heart Disease = Number One Killer In Women

If you think heart disease is a “man disease,” as many assume, think again, ladies. While cardiovascular illness develops later in women and sooner in men, heart disease targets women all the same. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, equating to one in four women!

Annual Heart Attack Stats:

  • 8 percent are 50 years and younger
  • 88,000 women between 45 – 64
  • 372,000 women 65+

Ladies, the lesson here is to not let age fool you, some women can, and do have heart attacks during their 20s and 30s. Take, Eve Walker, for example. She was fit and healthy, yet had a heart attack at the age of 28! Yep, it can happen. Another factor to consider is genetics, as heart disease can run in the family.

What You Need To Know

While heart conditions tend to worsen if you’re overweight, it can happen to anyone, as in Eve Walker’s case where she was young, and fit. Heart conditions, unfortunately can just run in the family. Regardless if you’re genetically predisposed or not, it’s important to see a cardiologist, just to be on the safe side. Here are the important numbers you need to know in order to stay on top of your heart health and wellness.

Heart Health Check:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood Sugar
  • BMI (Body Mass Index)

High blood pressure tends to be connected with high cholesterol. In addition, high blood sugar levels are associated with damage to the arteries. Lastly, the dreaded BMI. Admittedly, some of us might be a little nervous about checking BMI. Don’t be nervous, knowing your BMI is very important. Wouldn’t you prefer to know if your BMI might affect your heart health, rather than avoiding, the important information that number might tell you? Learning your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI are relevant indicators to assess how well your heart is doing.

Ways To Keep Your Heart Healthy

Get Active: Getting active means you’ve got to get out there and exercise! Even if you’re out of shape, or a beginner, start where you are at. Take steps to get active daily. You could start by getting a fitness tracker, watch, or free pedometer app on your phone. There are many ways to keep track of your daily movements and great communities to encourage you to stay on track!

Eat Healthy: Staying healthy means keeping an eye on what you ingest in your body. Eating heart healthy foods, such as fruit, veggies, nuts and even oatmeal, can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and balance your blood sugar.

Alcohol in Moderation: You don’t have to completely cut out social drinking or an occasional cocktail. However, excessive drinking can lead to fatty liver disease and ultimately affect your heart, too. High amounts of booze can lead to a disease of the heart, called cardiomyopathy.

Keep Your BMI In Check: Staying at a healthy weight is one of the keys to beating heart disease. The higher your BMI, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood through your body and maintain healthy circulation.

Stop Smoking: Make 2019 your year to quit for good! Smoking is linked to coronary heart disease, stroke, and artery damage. When you smoke buildup of fatty material, otherwise known as atheroma, occurs. Atheroma narrows the arteries which can lead to a stroke or a heart attack. Go on girl! We believe in you, put down those smokes for the good of your heart!

Lower Cholesterol & Blood Pressure: While you should always keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure, don’t let it overtake your life. Simply finding ways to eat healthier meals and get regular exercise, will help this happen naturally. FYI, high blood pressure and cholesterol, like heart disease, is ageless. You can be in your 20s and 30s and have both high readings. In fact, according to the CDC, 102 million adults in their 20s or older, have high cholesterol. Sometimes it’s genetics, but oftentimes a simple lifestyle change can move you to the healthier end of the spectrum.

Stop Stressing: This one is not that easy to do, and we’re all guilty of stressing ourselves out at times. If you’re super stressed, learning ways to keep your nerves in check is a start. Whether you’re balancing a job, a social life, school, work or kids , life can get hectic at times. Remember to make time for yourself, try up yoga, hit the sauna or steam room if your gym has one, get a massage or practice meditation. Whatever you decide, find healthy ways to unwind! You deserve it.

Love Your Heart, Love Yourself.

The month of February is American Heart Health Month, so don’t forget to be your own Valentine, and keep your heart healthy. Don’t put off keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and BMI in check. Often times, people wait until it’s too late to get their heart health under control. The sooner you start loving your heart with healthier lifestyle choices, the quicker you’ll get on the road toward personal wellness and physical improvement.