January 24, 2013

Fighting For Heart Health

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), heart disease is the number one killer of women. The number one killer. It is not breast cancer, which definitely receives the most attention. No, heart disease is what kills more women than anything else. In fact, heart disease also kills more men than anything else. Most people think of heart attacks and immediately think of men. Though heart disease has been associated mostly with men, women also are affected by these devastating diseases. Obviously, heart health should be number one on all our health lists.

Heart disease can be anything from stroke to heart attack to high blood pressure and so much more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that coronary artery disease is the initial cause of most heart disease thus leading to other issues like a heart attack. However, coronary artery disease is not the only type of cardiovascular disease. WebMD has a nice list of other types, so check it out.

redOrbit’s main site also has regular articles and even blogs about heart disease that definitely highlight the issues and complications involved with heart disease. Many of these articles discuss ways to help prevent heart disease of all types as well as articles that explain how to deal with diagnosed heart disease. Between NIH, CDC, WebMD, and redOrbit, internet trollers have myriad sources to help them better understand heart disease and what they can do to help prevent this devastating disease.

National Public Radio (NPR) even contributes to the discussion. In fact, NPR recently published an article specific to women and heart disease. NPR described the findings of a study on the intake of blueberries and strawberries in a regular diet. The study found that young and middle-aged women (aged 40 to about 60) who ate at least three servings of blueberries specifically but also strawberries per a week were 32 percent less likely to have a heart attack. Blueberries have long been applauded for their brain health benefits and their help in decreasing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, so to learn of yet another health benefit should inspire us all to eat them.

But blueberries are not the only way to lower one’s risk of heart disease. A high fiber, low fat diet is necessary as is a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and grains in addition to healthy meats. Regular exercise also strengthens the heart and lowers the risk of heart disease. Not smoking is critical to a healthy heart just as watching our blood pressure levels. Making sure we are at a healthy body weight—not too underweight and not too overweight—is also crucial to heart health. Clearly, certain foods (namely blueberries and fibers but these are not the only ones) definitely help to lower our risks for heart disease.

Heart disease is a very real, very serious issue. It is not something that we can just pretend will not affect us. We cannot turn a blind eye because we can’t see our hearts. We must be aware. We must be proactive. We must, must protect our hearts. All of our hearts.

I am particularly sensitive to heart disease because my dad died from a heart attack. I wrote about it back in November (click here if you would like to read it.). His death made me highly aware of my own heart health, and this made me want to help others become aware of their own heart health. With heart disease being the number one killer of women as well as men, this means it should the number one focus for us all.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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