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Because I matter to those who love me.

Healthy Greater Richmond: Women, Take Charge! was developed in response to a Request for Application with the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and Nia’s own burden to address the health and well-being of women living in the Greater Richmond region. 

Women, Take Charge! was designed to help women increase their knowledge of heart disease, identify their own personal risk factors, and make lifestyle changes to reduce their risks.

Our community partners for this project were:

Women, Take Charge! was sponsored by a grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of a public-private partnership with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to promote The Heart Truth®, the NHLBI’s national program for women about heart disease. 

Over 600 women participated! 

What is Heart Disease?

"Coronary heart disease--often simply called heart disease-occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to a buildup of plaque on the arteries' inner walls. Plaque is the accumulation of fat, cholesterol, and other substances. As plaque continues to build up in the arteries, blood flow to the heart is reduced.

Heart disease can lead to a heart attack. A heart attack happens when an artery becomes totally blocked with plaque, preventing vital oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. A heart attack can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.

Heart disease is one of several cardiovascular diseases, which are diseases of the heart and blood vessel system. Other cardiovascular diseases include stroke, high blood pressure and rheumatic heart disease.

One reason some women aren't too concerned about heart disease is that they think it can be "cured" with surgery. This is a myth. Heart disease is a lifelong condition--once you get it, you'll always have it. True, procedures such as bypass surgery and angioplasty can help blood and oxygen flow to the heart more easily. But the arteries remain damaged, which means you are more likely to have a heart attack. 

What's more, the condition of your blood vessels will steadily worsen unless you make changes in your daily habits. Many women die of complications from heart disease or become permanently disabled. That's why it is so vital to take action to prevent and control this disease.

Source: The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women, 20th Edition, page 11, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

  • One in 4 women in the United States dies of heart disease, while 1 in 30 dies of breast cancer.

  • Twenty-three percent of women die within 1 year after having a heart attack.

  • Within 6 years of having a heart attack, about 46 percent of women become disabled with heart failure. Two-thirds of women who have a heart attack fail to make a full recovery.


  • Research shows that women can lower their heart disease risk enormously--by as much as 82 percent--simply by leading a healthy lifestyle.

  • If you eat a nutritious diet, engage in regular physical activity, maintain a healthy weight, and stop smoking, you will improve your heart health.

Heart Disease is the Leading Cause of Death and Disability Among American Women

Research shows that women can lower their heart disease risk enormously---by as much as 82 percent -- simply by leading a healthy lifestyle.

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease—but it’s one that you can control. Smokers are two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers. One year after quitting, your heart disease risk may drop by more than half.

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. High blood pressure (hypertension) increases your chance of heart disease, and is dangerous because it often has no symptoms. Prevent high blood pressure by reducing sodium (salt) intake, being active, and keeping a healthy weight. 

When there is too much cholesterol—a fatlike substance—in your blood, it builds up in the walls of your arteries and increases your risk of developing heart disease. Know your total cholesterol, your LDL (bad) cholesterol, and your HDL (good) cholesterol, and triglycerides. Make an appointment to get tested.

Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent and control many diseases and conditions. About two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese. If you are overweight or obese, you are at higher risk of developing heart disease. 

Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. The good news is that physical activity can protect your heart and you don't have to run a marathon to see benefits. Regular physical activity can also reduce your chances of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

Carbohydrates are a great source of energy for our bodies—but if you eat too many at one time, your blood glucose may get too high. If your blood glucose stays too high for too long, it can lead to serious health problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

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Women, Take Charge!






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