I had to look away as the needle plunged into my skin, I hate needles, and as I felt the pinch, (admittedly not as bad as I expected) I remembered that I was not supposed to have eaten before I came. Not only did I forget to fast before checking my cholesterol, but I had also polished off a McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (don’t judge me!) just moments before. To save myself a trip back to the lab, and needle…and o.k. the disapproving look of the phlebotomist, I decided not mention my lunch. The following week I got a congratulatory note from my doctor on my excellent cholesterol count!
That was almost a year ago and I’d been feeling pretty confident about my good health since. Until today. I went to an event planning committee meeting for the Go Red for women campaign. Go Red is a campaign by the American Heart Association that serves to heighten awareness of the risks of heart disease in women. We were shown a great 3-minute movie called ‘Just A Little Heart Attack’ which I think every busy mom could identify with. Then I heard a survival story from a woman who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. She had been around my age, fit, with healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure. She was slim, ate well, and exercised regularly. The fact that she survived at all is amazing, 95% of women who suffer a heart attack do not.
Watching the movie and then listening to her speak, the message hit home. It actually could happen to someone like me (I don’t eat McDonald’s that often, honestly!). A representative from the American Heart Association then rattled off some pretty startling statistics. Heart Disease is the number one killer of women over the age of 25, and every year it kills more women than men. Yikes! Like many other people I had believed heart disease to be more of a risk for older, unfit men. Clearly not! The good news is that with lifestyle modifications in diet and exercise, the risks of heart disease can be greatly reduced. I left the meeting this morning armed with all sorts of new information, and as soon as I got home I went for a run!
How do you keep your heart healthy?