Why fight back? Because according to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute, and more than all cancers combined! Yes, more than all cancers combined. How crazy is that?
That includes all the women in your life, from grandma to your bestie, no one is immune. And if you’re Latina, you’re more likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than white women, however only 29% of Latinas are aware of that fact. As a Hispanic female born with a congenital heart defect, my familia (family) and I know this all too well. It all began with what seemed to be a cold that wouldn’t go away, however upon further investigation it was determined that I had a heart murmur that needed attention. That meant that at age 5 I had to undergo open heart surgery to repair the damage. Thankfully, with the help of my doctors and support of my family, I was able to pull through and now I live a happy and healthy life.
And while I managed to receive a clean bill of health, I want to make sure that I and everyone around me continues to stave off any further issues or complications. It is for this reason that I want you to help me fight back by ensuring self care for yourself and your loved ones. And according to the American Heart Association it all starts with knowing our family history and making better lifestyle choices. Those include:
- not smoking,
- eating healthy,
- being physically active,
- maintaining a healthy weight,
- managing blood pressure,
- controlling cholesterol, and
- reducing blood sugar.
It’s our job to stay on top of these risk factors through lifestyle choices and yearly well-women checks. I know as women we tend to put others ahead of ourselves, but self care is just as important. Unfortunately sometimes we can’t or don’t want to imagine our family doing without us for a few hours while we give ourselves some time to go see our doctor, hit the gym, the spa, or just take a mental break, etc. But taking a few hours to take care of yourself can make the difference between whether you’re around to watch a new generation of family members grow or not.
As a Hispanic woman I know there is so much more work to be done in bringing awareness and making heart disease a thing of the past. Together though, I know we can fight back, Go Red, bring awareness, and improve our heart health along the way.
And if you’re in San Antonio, you totally have to participate in the FREE Vestido Rojo… De Todo Corazón Women’s Conference. They generally offer:
- Health screenings (cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, BMI) – Attendees must fast 12 hours prior to tests for screenings
- Healthy cooking/nutrition workshops
- Physical Activity workshops
- Presentations on heart disease risk factors and prevention
- Heart-healthy lunch
Bam, everything we’ve just been talking about, all wrapped up in one spot to get you on your way to better health. But space is limited, so make sure you RSVP. It’s generally just a half day. So come on out, give yourself this gift, and give your family and friends the piece of mind knowing you’re doing what’s best for you and your family.
What steps to do you take or will you be taking to make self care a part of your life and of those you love?