Famous celebrity, Barbara Streisand raised $20million at her home, along with $5million of her own personal funds to bring awareness of the number one killer disease to the news front. She elaborates that most research about heart disease, as on most other diseases, has been on men, putting women in the back seat of what should be the driver’s seat for this affliction.
Streisand has invested her money in a campaign for women to come out of their secondary status, empowering them to be cognizant of risks and menaces of diseases that can befall them. She has actively put herself in the news, overcome her reclusiveness and come to the prominent forefront for this monumental cause.
Below are a few alarming statistics from the American Heart Association:
Women and heart disease statistics
- Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. women.
- Two out of three American women have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
- One out of two American women will develop heart and vascular disease.
- Twelve times as many women die of heart disease every year as die from breast cancer.
- 450,000 American women die of heart disease every year, compared to 410,000 men.
- One-quarter to one-half of women with heart disease experience different symptoms than men typically do. For example, many women experience extreme fatigue and nausea, while men report a tingling feeling in their left arm.
Source: American Heart Association
In our text, “Communicating About Health” (du Pre’ 2010), there are several sources that describe women, particularly from the African American race, that are frequently ignored by health care services, and that advertisements most commonly depict white models in their advertisements relating to cardiovascular disease treatments (Cline & Young, 2004). No matter what the color or race, women of all ages and levels (financial, social, educational), need to be made aware of the resources available to them.
Another factor that may not be very well-publicized is that women die of heart disease more than all cancers combined: 500,000 women per year, up from the above statistics. This video below is even more touching and emotional because it is not centered on the fund-raising, but the heart itself; pull out some tissues before you watch it.
What attaches me to heart disease? I am a woman, my mother died of heart disease at the young age of 76, my father who had diabetes and heart disease, died when I was 23, at the age of 80. I am not going to be a statistic. I am here to share with my fellow women the importance of health care, regular check-ups, knowing health histories, and being an educated consumer.
Heart disease can be prevented more easily than imagined. According to the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease-prevention/WO00041/NSECTIONGROUP=2) there are five simple, non-medicated ways to keep healthy and stave off heart disease symptoms:
1. Stop smoking or don’t use any kind of tobacco;
2. Exercise at least 30 minutes per day, try a walk a few times the block, join the gym, bike with a friend, walk the dog; it lowers blood pressure and stress levels;
3. Eat a heart-healthy diet- stay away from high fat foods, deep fried cooking, bakery products, snack foods, crackers, margarine, hydrogenated oils. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink alcohol in moderation, eat plenty of Omega 3s, found in salmon, mackerel, and flaxseed oils;
4. Stay a healthy weight – even though BMI (body mass index) is not completely accurate, it may be a good barometer to start off with; maintaining a fit weight also helps prevent diabetes, cancers, and strokes;
5. Get regular health screenings – testing for cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes on an annual basis (more or less determined by physician, based on family health history and risk factors) can prevent heart disease, and if already present, it can be medically treated.
I am grateful to have been made aware of all the preventative elements so that I can keep my family healthy and help others to do the same. If you are a woman, know a woman, share this information with her. That means you, your mother, sister, spouse, companion, co-worker – there is a woman in your midst who will benefit from this.