IRAHC recognizing women’s heart health by wearing red

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When I was growing up I continually heard the story about how my dad’s father, my grandfather, passed suddenly from a heart attack at what was considered the rather early age of 60. From very early on I was taught how important a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy and exercising, would benefit my long-term health. I have always strived to live a healthy lifestyle and inculcate it to my own Family.

Recently, I celebrated my own father’s 83rd birthday. He is a living testament, and example, to me of what living a healthy lifestyle can do to benefit a full and happy life.

My personal favorite exercise is enjoying a good, long bicycle ride—not only because of the cardio, but because it is a good stress releaser. Taking the time to eat properly and exercise is an important part of the performance triad—sleep, activity, nutrition. It is part of my own personal resiliency plan and I find it very beneficial to help balance my work with my exercise activities.

At the start of American Heart month, tomorrow the staff of Fort Knox Medical Department Activity and I will recognize Feb. 3, “National Wear Red Day,” by wearing red. NWRD was originally created in support of women’s heart health—it’s just one of the many programs the American Heart Association promotes to increase awareness of heart disease.

As science and technology have advanced, we as a society have learned more about what kills us—or what benefits us. Over the years we’ve learned that diet and exercise weren’t just part of catch phrases. They help us avoid obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We also learned that smoking really does kill, and junk food really is junk.

And we learned that although the stereotypical heart attack or stroke patient is portrayed as an older, overweight, smoking male, that’s wrong. It doesn’t matter what age you are—anyone can have heart disease. It is the No. 1 killer of women.

A good diet and exercise ensures you will be around to see your children grow up, walk them down the aisle at their weddings and bounce the grandkids on your knee. It allows you to enjoy that retirement full of travel, and whatever you have longed to do with your significant other. And almost guarantees better health so you have time to work on that bucket list.

If you haven’t had a complete physical lately—I encourage you to make an appointment to get one. If you haven’t checked your blood pressure lately it’s as easy as a drive to your local pharmacy—most of them offer a free blood pressure station.

If you are a member of our armed forces, Family member or a retiree please know that IRAHC’s Nutrition Care Division offers nutritional counseling, via registered dietitians, for everything from weight management and prediabetes to heart disease and food allergies. You can also visit the Army Wellness Center where they can check your body mass, overall health and work with you on a diet and exercise plan—if you are a Department of Defense civilian or contractor you are also eligible to visit the AWC.

And I invite you to join us Friday as we wear red to increase awareness of heart disease.