Friday, February 5, 2010

Breast Cancer Isn't the #1 Killer of Women

With all of the constant publicity about breast cancer, you might be tempted to believe that it is the #1 killer of women. Breast cancer is so much in the public eye that it's easy to have the impression that most women die from it than any other medical cause. This is NOT the case; there is another disease which claims ONE of EVERY THREE WOMEN, and we all need to remember this fact (even myself, a breast cancer patient!).

Heart Disease claims the lives of more women than any other disease, even breast cancer! To raise awareness of this sobering fact, today has been designated as "National Wear Red Day" by the American Heart Association. Women wear red today to spread the message that Heart Disease claims far too many women (and men), and leads to years of disability and diminished quality of life for others.

My Mother had debilitating congestive heart failure for years; she was a heavy smoker for decades, and could never manage to quit. She had to sleep sitting up, could barely walk even a few steps without becoming exhausted, and she died at age 59 from a heart attack. My goal even before I lost her 22 years ago was to adopt a healthy lifestyle so that this would not happen to me. Until I was diagnosed with cancer, I led a model life in terms of heart health. I'm struggling to get back to my former weight and level of activity, because I know this is vital to my survival.

Do you know the risk factors for heart disease? Having even one of these doubles your risk of developing heart disease:

Physically inactive
High blood pressure
High cholesterol
Age (55 and older for women)
Family history of coronary disease

Visit the Go Red for Women website for valuable information and assistance in improving your heart health:

Do what you can to improve your risk factors and to lead a long, healthy life. We all can agree on this!

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