BATON ROUGE, La. – During February, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is raising awareness of the leading cause of death in the United States: heart disease. And while conditions like coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or heart failure can affect anyone, women are often less likely to know their health risks.
“A lot of people mistakenly think heart disease mainly affects men, but it’s just as much of a threat to women. Nearly one out of five female deaths happen because of heart attacks or other cardio issues,” said Dr. Emily Vincent, Blue Cross medical director. “During Heart Health Month, it’s important for everyone to be aware of their family and medical history, any risk factors they have and how they can adopt healthy habits to be STRONGER THAN heart disease.”
One reason women can underestimate their heart health risks is that they tend to have symptoms that are more subtle and can be mistaken for other, less-serious issues, Dr. Vincent said.
“Most people know classic heart disease symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath. But many women have symptoms like stomachaches, vomiting or feeling tired all the time that they may not realize are pointing to a heart problem,” Dr. Vincent said. “That’s why it’s so important to have at least one checkup a year with your health care provider. It’s a perfect opportunity to look at your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol numbers. This can help you catch any issues earlier, when they’re easier to treat and before you start having more serious symptoms.”
Get tips to be heart healthy in this animated video (1:00).
Healthy Habits = Healthy Hearts
Your provider can work with you on developing a plan to stay on top of your long-term heart health, Dr. Vincent added. Some lifestyle changes that can make a big difference include:
• Watching your fat and salt intake
• Exercising for 20 minutes or more at least five days a week – this can include low-impact, easy-to-do activities like walking, yoga, swimming or biking
• Quitting or avoiding tobacco
• Finding ways to manage stress and anxiety, such as mindfulness, deep breathing or keeping a journal
• Sleeping seven hours or more most nights
• Keeping up with your health care by having your annual wellness visit
• Taking any prescribed medication exactly as your health care provider tells you to
Blue Cross members who have been diagnosed with heart disease can get health coaching, information and support from the insurer’s clinical team. Health coaches include nurses, dietitians, social workers and pharmacists, who work with members to help them stick to their care plans, adopt healthy habits and make positive changes to improve their health. It does not cost anything to work with a health coach. Visit www.bcbsla.com/Stronger for more information about Care Management services and programs.
Learn how the Blue Cross care team can help you be STRONGER THAN Heart Disease in this video (:56).
Follow Blue Cross on social media @BCBSLA throughout February to see original graphic designs, videos and other messages to help Louisianians learn how they can be STRONGER THAN heart disease. Download, share or post these messages on your personal social media with the hashtag #StrongerThanHeartDisease and inspire your loved ones to keep the beat going strong. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and TikTok.
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short health videos on heart disease, high blood pressure and other topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past three years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.