According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease is the cause of one out of every three deaths. That’s roughly one death each minute.
Although historically Alaska Native women have had a relatively low incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD), this pattern has changed dramatically in recent years: the incidence of CVD and its associated risk factors – namely diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and smoking – in Alaska Native women now surpass those in Alaskan non-Native women. While nationally the highest CVD rate is found among African American people, the highest rate among Alaskans is in Alaska Native populations.
CIRI is a long-time supporter of Go Red for Women, the American Heart Association’s campaign to encourage awareness of the issue of women and heart disease. In December, CIRI President and CEO Sophie Minich participated in a television PSA encouraging Alaska Native women to take charge of their heart health. CIRI is also a sponsor of the Go Red for Women Conference and Luncheon, to be held Feb. 28 in Anchorage.
“Cardiovascular disease has affected my family, and it will impact virtually every family at some point,” Minich said. “The good news there is much we can do to reduce our risk. Consuming a plant-based diet, abstaining from tobacco and alcohol, staying physically active, managing stress and getting regular health screenings go a long way in preventing heart disease and stroke.”
For more information, visit www.goredforwomen.org.