Here’s some great news on the heart health front in the United States: the number of women dying from heart disease is on a sharp decline. According to a new study, the number of women who die from this tragic and often preventable disease has gone from one in three to one in four.
A new report from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which is based out of the National Institutes of Health, has found that there have been improvements in the numbers, which is encouraging. This came right on the heels of National Wear Red Day, which just passed on February 2nd. Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, the director of NHLBI stated “To see such a significant reduction in deaths underscores that the efforts of many individuals and organizations to raise awareness, improve treatment and access, and inspire women to take action are truly saving lives.”
In the report, researchers looked at preliminary data from 2004 and conducted an analysis to determine what changes have been occurring in death rates among women with heart disease. Over the past few years, they found that a steady decline in deaths has been occurring among women in the United States, which has been happening steadily from 200 to 2004. This kind of consecutive decline has never been seen in the past.
Plus, add on to this the fact that in 2004 women faced the highest life expectancy yet — 80.4 — years, and we have a cause to celebrate. Undoubtedly, one of the major contributors to this positive change is awareness. Women are increasingly familiar with heart disease and its effects. In fact, awareness has gone up significantly in only five years — from 34% of women being aware of heart disease in 2000 to 55% in 2005.
According to Dr, Nabel, “We are confident that recent advancements in the women and heart disease movement have helped to propel this change. More women are aware that heart disease is their leading killer, and research shows that this heightened awareness is leading them to take action to reduce their risk. They are more likely to step up their physical activity, eat healthier, and lose weight.”
Now, even though this is a positive development, know that heart disease still runs rampant. It is the number one killer in women. Unfortunately, countless women still do not see heart disease as posing a risk in their lives — even though many of them have one or more risk factors for the disease. Plus, heart disease is still a more serious threat among African American women as well.
If you are female, be aware of the risk factors that are associated with heart disease. There are certain risk factors that some women are forced to face, such as being over 55 or having a family history of the disease. However, there are many other factors that you can take control of, such as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight or obese, smoking, or living a sedentary lifestyle.
If you have even one of these problems, you are officially at risk for heart disease. Take control today and don’t become a statistic. Speak to your doctor about what you can do to reduce or eliminate the risk of heart disease happening to you.