Friday, February 01, 2008

Are You Wearing Red Today??

My intention for the day: bring joy with me.

Are you wearing read today? I am. That's because today kicks off American Heart Month and so today is National Wear Red Day. It snuck up on me, or I'd warned you about it sooner. (this silly changing months on Friday! Who thinks of that?).

I am regularly upset that we women will stand up and loudly encourage and advocate for women to get their mammograms. Yes, breast cancer is prevelant and scary. Yes, if you die from it, it's painful and horrid. However, breast cancer is not even in the top 5 causes of women's death.

The #1 killer of women of heart disease. Yet do we stand as loudly and say: Get a blood test! Know your cholesterol! Know your risks!


Why not?

I've said it before. When my father had his quadruple bypass surgery, I was 35. I went into my family doctor and requested a lipid profile. He thought I was too young to worry about it, but agreed that a baseline test would be a good idea. While my baseline cholesterol was high - about 265 - what concerned him most was that my HDL - the good kind of cholesterol- was lower than he had ever seen. It was 18. It should be over 35.

Diet and exercise increased it eventually to 19, but I never broke the 20s without medication. And nobody seriously thought that a pre-menopausal woman really needed medication. I argued for a while and convinced every doctor I had to keep me on something.

I currently take the lowest doseage of Lipitor. Last test was not where I would like my cholesterol to be, but I was below the danger line. More importantly, my HDLs were up to 65. That's where they went as soon as I started using meds, and they have high since then.

In my case, taking action early and being an advocate for my own health means that I did not have the heart attack that was likely awaiting me in my late 40s-early 50s. Would it have been mild and a warning or deadly? We'll never know.

Recent reports are showing an ever increasing number of young women having strokes and heart attacks. NOT young like 40.. young like 25-30. YOUNG. In many of those cases it poor diet and lack of exercise; they can reverse the damage they've done to their bodies if they start paying attention today.

How about you?

Do you know your risk of heart disease? Do you know your numbers? Are you doing what you can to be heart-healthy?

And are you wearing red today?

I also blog at: Deb's Daily Distractions where I blogged about February's horoscopes, and BlogHer on Mondays and Saturdays.

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