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    Love Your Heart – GO RED

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | February 2nd, 2020

    Love Your Heart – GO RED

    “My paternal grandmother had a stroke. She was never the same after the stroke”.

    “A friend of mine went to the hospital because she did not feel right. She was sent home because they thought it was gastrointestinal bug. She died at home from a heart attack”.

    “A friend of mine is on dialysis. He said it was because of years of uncontrolled high blood pressure”.

    February is American Heart Month. We use this month to raise awareness about heart health and urge those around us to prevent heart disease. This Friday is National Wear Red Day. I will be wearing red and I hope you will join me. The quotes above are my quotes. They are my stories and when we have more than one in three women living with some form of heart disease, I am convinced that each of you have stories.

    What does it mean to GO RED1 this Friday?

    G: Get your numbers – I want you to do more that get your numbers. I want you to understand what they mean. What is your blood pressure? What is your body mass index (BMI)? What is your cholesterol level? What is your hemoglobin A1C level? Is it normal or is it abnormal? Are you pre-diabetic? Is your blood pressure really normal? There are so many people walking around with diseases that are unaware they have. If you are taking your blood pressure medication and your blood pressure is not where it is supposed to be, you are at risk of having complications due to high blood pressure like someone not taking their blood pressure medication. Sign up to have access to the patient portal site so that you know your numbers.

    O: Own your lifestyle – The only thing anyone can do is give advice. It is up to you to decide to eat healthy, exercise regularly, take your medicine as prescribed, quit smoking and get enough sleep. This is how we keep our heart healthy. You have to decide to cut down on processed food. You have to decide to get moving. You have to remember to take your medicine maybe by putting an alarm on your smart phone. You have to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) to quit smoking. You have to decide to tune out so that you can get your 7 – 9 hours of sleep. Stop the excuses, and just DO IT.

    R: Realize your risks – There are risks you cannot change and there are those that you can. Being a woman, especially a black woman, having a family history of heart disease or stroke, getting older (although young people can have heart disease) are risk factors you cannot change.  You can make sure that your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and diabetes are well controlled. You can quit smoking.

    E: Educate your family and friends – It is never too early and never too late to make changes. If you are going to eat healthy, your children will be eating healthy. Be the one at work volunteering to bring the healthy meals like salads or fruits during potlucks. Motivate your family and friends to exercise. I remember a friend of mine wanted to talk, I told her to come over to my house wearing her sneakers, we walked 3 miles and she had my undivided attention.

    D: Don’t be silent – When you are wearing red this Friday and someone ask you why – I hope you tell them that heart disease is the # 1 killer of women and men and we can all play a role in changing the stats – get your numbers, own your lifestyle, realize your risks and educate other people.

    American Heart Association believes that every person deserves to live a longer, healthier life and they have launched a new 10- year goal focusing on helping people everywhere increase their healthy life expectancy. The goal is bold and ambitious. It will focus on making healthy choices the easy one, making health care accessible and affordable and getting better at stopping preventable diseases before they start. It will require all of us working together. To learn more about the goals, click here. In the meantime GORED.

    1GO RED meaning highlighted came from


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    With her trademark wit and straightforward communication, Dr. Osuagwu continues to dole out valuable medical advice using the letter form and addressing women’s health conditions and issues in a method that was praised for its innovative approach in her earlier award-winning book, Letters to My Sisters: Plain Truths and Straightforward Advice from a Gynecologist. In this book, each letter is paired with reference sources and statistics about the condition that is the subject of the letter.

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