The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association encourage you to learn your family health history this March, during Women’s History Month.

Robbinsville, NJ —  Women have played a vital role in our history.  They’ve lead nations, inspired art, invented modern technology and conquered obstacles once thought impossible. We each have a direct link to the women who have come before us—their strength, their love, their legacy.  But we also have a link in a different way.  Just like you didn’t choose the brown hair you inherited from your mother or the blue eyes you inherited from your father, you can’t choose the genes that increase risk for heart disease and stroke.  Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women each year in the U.S., but with early screening and detection, as well as healthy lifestyle changes, many of these diseases may be treated or prevented.

“Risk of heart disease, stroke and related risk factors are strongly linked to family history,” states Dr. Carol Gill, President of the American Heart Association Northern New Jersey board of directors and a physician at the VA New Jersey Health Care System in East Orange, NJ. “It is important to know your family history in order for your doctor to better assess additional risk factors.” 

While celebrating Women’s History Month, the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association encourage women to learn their family health history.  If your father, mother, grandparent or other relative experienced cardiovascular disease, you are more likely to be at risk for a similar disease.  If you have a family history of heart disease or stroke, it’s especially important to monitor other key health indicators, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and blood glucose. 

While you can’t counteract your genes, you can lower your risk by changing behaviors that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.  Studies suggest that up to 80 percent of heart disease and stroke may be prevented by healthy lifestyle modifications, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, maintaining regular physical activity and quitting smoking.

Why is it so important to learn your family history and monitor risk factors?  Your future is why.  Whether it’s planning your next trip, earning your degree or buying your first home, you want to stick around for all your future plans.  By learning more about your family’s health history, you can make healthier choices and prevent heart disease and stroke from getting in the way of your future.  The American Heart Association | American Stroke Association want you to be around for more of life’s precious moments.  Why?  Life.  Life is why.

To learn more about lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke, visit www.goredforwomen.org