February is American Heart Month. VA’s Women’s Health Services is proud to collaborate with the American Heart Association (AHA) to bring awareness and knowledge to women Veterans, their families and caregivers about heart disease and stroke.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Every minute in America, a woman dies of a heart attack, stroke or another form of cardiovascular disease. Approximately one out of every three women experience some form of cardiovascular disease, and most of those cases are preventable if a woman leads a heart-healthy lifestyle.
“Women often don’t realize that they are at risk,” says Dr. Sally Haskell, Deputy Chief Consultant for VA’s national Women’s Health Services office. “While VA has several tools to help women become and stay heart-healthy, we must raise awareness so they know it is an issue they must consider every day. Being heart-healthy isn’t a one day decision; it’s a lifetime of choices.”
VA’s largest female population — women Veterans aged 45 to 64 — are facing their critical years for heart health. Cardiovascular risk factors are prevalent among women Veteran patients overall, as nearly one-third of women Veterans under VA care have high cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.
Since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in American women and women Veterans, VA has teamed up with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign in order to maximize the resources available for women. The VA-AHA initiative is in its second year. Through this collaboration Veterans can share tools like AHA’s Heart Match program. Women who have experienced heart disease can create an online profile, indicate their military status and connect with other women Veterans and service members who have had similar experiences.
Being heart-healthy isn’t a one day decision. It’s a lifetime of choices.
Every woman should recognize key risk factors for heart disease: smoking, high LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. Forty-nine percent of Americans have at least one of these risk factors. In addition, there are other medical conditions that put women at a higher risk for heart disease:
For tips on how to achieve a Healthy Heart Lifestyle check out these websites for more information:
VA is asking all Veterans, friends, family members and caregivers to encourage the women Veterans they know and love to live heart-healthy. VA wants to empower women Veterans with the knowledge they need to have a healthy heart and maintain those habits for a lifetime of healthy heart decisions.