February 3, 2012 marks the 9th Annual National Go Red Day. Americans will wear red (a shirt, tie, dress, pin) to show support for women’s heart health. The first Friday in February has been designated as Go Red Day.
More women die of heart disease than from all forms of cancer combined. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer of women. Unfortunately, heart disease is often silent, hidden and misunderstood. Strokes are the #4 killer of women, and are the #1 cause of disability in women.
8 million women in the United States have heart disease, yet only 1 in 6 women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat. 90% of women have 1 or more risk factors in developing heart disease.
Women’s Signs of Heart Attack:
1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4. Other signs such as breaking out in cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
If you experience any of these signs, DO NOT wait more than 5 minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1…Get to a hospital right away!
Women’s Signs of Stroke:
1. Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg, especially on 1 side of the body.
2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
3. Sudden trouble seeing in 1 or both eyes.
4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
If you experience any of these signs, seek immediate medical attention. It has been shown that quick response and medication lessen the severity of the after-effects of stroke.
Prevention is the most important weapon in the fight against heart disease. It’s never too soon to begin living a heart-healthy lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet, exercise, abstinence from smoking, drinking of alcohol in moderation, maintaining a healthy weight, and knowing one’s family medical history.
The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and Merck & Co., Inc.