February 2015
Webinar    

On February 18, 2015 at 1pm EST, please join our partners for a webinar on Obesity and Preconception Health Part 2: Resources and Strategies for Change. Click here to Register! 

Do You Know the Heart Truth? 
All of Our Stories Are Red: Yaskary's Story

All of Our Stories Are Red:

Yaskary's Story

The Heart Truth is a national campaign for women about heart disease and is sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. In this short clip Yaskary shares her experience with heart disease and the importance of knowing the risks.
Resources

Click here to view the Women Heart Disease Infographic. 

 
The American Heart Association is the nation's oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, the organization works tirelessly to eliminate these diseases. They fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to save and improve lives.
Million Hearts is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Million Hearts® brings together communities, health systems, nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and private-sector partners from across the country to fight heart disease and stroke. 
 The American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women campaign shares 10 ways that everyone can support for the increase in education, funding, and awareness of women's heart disease and stroke prevention. 
 

WebMD provides valuable health information, tools for managing health, and support to those who seek information. The WebMD Heart Health Center provides expert information on a number of topics related to heart health.

 

To make women more aware of the danger of heart disease, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is sponsoring a national program called The Heart Truth. The program's goal is to raise awareness about heart disease and its risk factors among women and educate and motivate them to take action to prevent the disease and control its risk factors. 
Many women may be unaware of the fact that heart disease is a major threat to their health.  Womenshealth.gov offers information about heart disease, risk factors, and ways for women to reduce their risk. 
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not only responsible for assuring the safety, efficacy and security of food, drugs, and medical devices; it is also responsible for advancing public health by providing accurate, science-based information the public needs to maintain and improve their health. The FDA website has tips to help women make good decisions about their heart health.
 
The World Health Organization (WHO) in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has produced "The Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke." The atlas has been designed for use by policy makers, national and international organizations, health professionals and the general public, and addresses the global epidemic of heart disease and stroke in a clear and accessible format.  

 Women's Heart Health

 
Chocolate candies and fun dates are some of the things that make this month sweet! February is American Heart Month and a great time to start taking steps to be heart-healthy. Unfortunately, heart disease and stroke have claimed the lives of more women then men since 1984. In fact, coronary heart disease (CHD) -- the most common type of heart disease -- is the #1 killer of women in the US. Other types of heart disease, such as coronary microvascular disease 
(MVD) and broken heart syndrome, also pose a unique risk for women, though these are not as well understood as CHD. Cardiovascular disease is also emerging as the leading cause of maternal mortality. 

 Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) 

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is a disease in which plaque builds up on the inner walls of the coronary arteries. Plaque is composed of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. As it builds up over time, it can either harden or rupture.  

Hardened plaque narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart. This can cause chest pain or discomfort. If the plaque ruptures, a blood clot can form on its surface, which can mostly or completely block blood flow through a coronary artery. This is the most common cause of a heart attack. In essence, CHD puts women at risk of serious heart issues, including heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac arrest. Women are also more likely than men to have a condition called broken heart syndrome. In this recently recognized heart problem, extreme emotional stress can lead to severe (but often short-term) heart muscle failure. Researchers are just starting to explore what causes this disorder and how to diagnose and treat it, but this condition shows no signs of blocked heart arteries.  

Hypertension

Many people mistakenly believe that high blood pressure, also known as HBP or hypertension, is more common among men. The truth is HBP is an equal opportunity disease. While HBP isn't directly related to gender, certain women's issues can increase their risk.

 Medical researchers have found that birth control pills increase blood pressure in some women, for example. It's more likely to occur if women are overweight, have had high blood pressure during pregnancy, have a family history of HBP or have mild kidney disease. The combination of birth control pills and cigarette use may be especially dangerous for some women. Hypertension can also be particularly  problematic for women who want to be or who are already pregnant. HBP, whether chronic or pregnancy-induced, should be carefully managed to protect both the mother and baby from poor health outcomes. 

  

Pre-Eclampsia

Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy and postpartum. It is a rapidly progressive condition, typically occurring after 20 weeks gestation and up to six weeks postpartum, that without careful management, can damage the mother's kidneys, liver and brain; harm the placenta; and cause low birth weight, premature birth and stillbirth. While affecting only 5-8% of all pregnancies, it and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are responsible for approximately 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths each year. While every pregnancy is different, women are at a greater risk for developing preeclampsia if they: have high blood pressure before becoming pregnant; have developed high blood pressure or preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy; are obese prior to pregnancy; are under age 20 or over age 40; are pregnant with more than one baby; and/or have diabetes, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma. Women with chronic hypertension should consult their health care providers and follow a certain set of precautions  before becoming pregnant.    

It is important to note that heart disease and stroke can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes, such as cooking traditional foods with healthier ingredients, exercising, asking for blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol checks from your healthcare provider.

Heart Health Resources
  
 

WomenHeart's mission is to improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease, and to advocate for their benefit.

 

The Women to Women Clinic is considered the premiere center for integrative women's care, specializing in chronic disease. They also offer full women's health care with an emphasis on prevention, helping women from 12 to 92 deal with every concern imaginable, including heart disease and hypertension.

 

Sister to Sister: The Women's Heart Health Foundation was the first organization focused solely on women's heart disease detection, education, and prevention. Their mission is to raise awareness that while heart disease remains the number one global killer of women, it is one that is highly preventable, treatable and reversible.   
 

The mission of the Preeclampsia Foundation is to reduce maternal and infant illness and death due to preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy by providing patient support and education, raising public awareness, catalyzing research and improving healthcare practices.  

New Blog Post!   

  

Read the latest post from Heart Sisters' Carolyn Thomas, Mayo Clinic-trained heart attack survivor, blogger, speaker, and women's health advocate, in which she shares her unique perspective on women and heart disease.      

Have Thoughts to Share?   

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 Every Wednesday this month, you can help prevent heart disease by joining the national conversation using #HeartDayHumpDay

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