Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Go Red and Purple for Women

Several years ago, my sister and I went to the War Eagle Mill Craft Fair and kept seeing different versions of “When My Sister and I Are Old, We Shall Wear Purple.” Of course, it goes on to say “with a red hat which doesn’t go.” Well, I guess that time has come. She is a member of the Red Hats.

I haven’t joined that organization, but when I wore red to Go Red for Women, I carried the purple purse I bought for the Alzheimer’s Forum. Yes, it was a little too much trouble to switch everything for one day, and no, I don’t care one whit that purple doesn’t go with red.

The combination of colors though, got me to thinking—both colors are symbols of diseases that affect women differently than men. One thing I’ve learned from the Go Red events is that women sometimes don’t recognize the symptoms of a heart attack. A woman can have a silent heart attack and not even know it. She may think she has indigestion, the flu, or that she’s strained a muscle. Instead of her chest hurting, she may have jaw pain or pain in the upper back or arms. She may just feel tired all the time.

Alzheimer’s affects women differently too. More women are caregivers for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s and suffer from depression more than male caregivers. Female caregivers who work are more likely to have problems with absenteeism and are more likely to quit their job completely. I was fortunate to have flexible hours and understanding managers and co-workers.

Red meets purple at the junction of the heart/brain connection. Researchers believe that what is good for the heart is good for the brain. A heart healthy diet may not only keep your heart in better shape, but could also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Your mother was trying to get you off on the path to health when she insisted that you eat your vegetables. Nuts, berries, fish high in omega-3, beans, tomatoes, and a small glass of red wine, and can help you eat your way to a healthier heart and brain.

When I wear my red and purple, I won’t think about being old enough to throw those odd colors together. Instead I’ll  think about how I can use the combined wisdom of the American Heart Association and the Alzheimer’s Association to be a healthier person for the rest of my life.

As far as my personal health goes, I can’t think of any two body parts more important to me than my heart and my brain.  

A glass of red wine and dark chocolate go a long way toward making life more enjoyable. If it improves our overall health, well, I’ll raise my glass in a toast to healthier, happier women.

Copyright © March 2016 by L.S. Fisher

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