Feb. 7 is National Wear Red Day, a day when we are encouraged to wear red to raise awareness about heart disease. In recognition of American Heart Month, Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, discusses the risks of heart disease.

How common is heart disease among women?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S. and can strike at any age. Although heart disease is often thought of as a problem for older men, it affects women at a startlingly high rate. About 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

What are some of the common risk factors for heart disease?

According to the American Heart Association, 49 percent of people in the U.S. have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Some common risk factors are:

High blood pressure

High cholesterol

● Smoking

Diabetes

Obesity

● Unhealthy diet

● Physical inactivity

● Excessive alcohol use

How can we keep our hearts healthy?

The good news is that making small changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can make a big difference to lower your risk of heart disease. You can do this by:

Regular physical activity, at least three days per week

Eat a healthy diet that is low in sugar, sodium and saturated fats and high in vegetables, whole-grains and lean protein

Manage stress through prayer, a hobby or talking with a healthcare provider.

Keep up with doctor’s appointments to monitor chronic conditions

Want a night on the town in Washington, D.C.? Take Adventist HealthCare’s fast, FREE heart health risk assessment this February to learn your risk for heart disease and enter for your chance to win a two-night getaway in Washington D.C. and $200 to the Kennedy Center.

Rose Melendez, RN

Rose Melendez, RN

Head of Emergency Department

Rose Melendez, RN is the head of the Emergency Department and Nursing Administration at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center. Tune into WGTS 91.9 FM every Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. to listen to Nurse Rose live on the radio.

Take our FREE online Heart Risk Assessment