February 5 is Go Red for Women Day. This is a crucial day for us gals to raise awareness of the #1 killer of women: heart disease. Surprised? It's true. But it's also preventable with some easy steps on your part:
1. Get active. All you need is 30 minutes a day of physical activity - climbing stairs, walking around the block, chasing your kids. You don't have to run a marathon.
2. Eat better. More fruits and vegetables. Less fats and highly-processed foods. Start with small changes. You don't have to go vegan.
3. STOP SMOKING. There is no healthy level of smoking. Period.
4. Lose weight. See steps 1. and 2. There is no shortcut, no magic diet pill. Just do it.
5. Control cholesterol.
6. Manage blood pressure.
7. Reduce blood sugar.
You may need to see a doctor to get readings for 5., 6., and 7. Look into community resources - free blood pressure clinics are common, as are machines in pharmacies. Many cities with medical schools also have free or low cost visits with supervised medical students. Aren't you worth the time and money it takes? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and regardless of how many people don't have adequate health insurance (ahem, Congress!!), it's still a better idea to not get sick in the first place. Make yourself a priority.