Go Red Day, Health, Heart Health, Red Stilletos, Stroke, Women and Heart Attacks

Do You Want to Have A Heart Attack?

We may say “Of course not,” but are we really doing all we can to prevent our risk of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke?

If you missed all the red dresses, lapel pins, scarves, and cool high heels on Feburary 1st, 2013, that was the tenth anniversary of National Go Red Day.

This is a day created to shine a spotlight on heart disease in women. But one day is just the start of the entire month of heart health awareness.

Heart disease strikes more women than breast cancer. It is the number one killer of women…

That’s right, one of every 31 women will die from breast cancer, and one in three will die of heart disease-

                   one a minute

That’s scary, especially when you can lower your risk by 80%: 

  • lower high cholesterol, 
  • reduce high blood pressure, 
  • eliminate smoking, 
  • stay near goal weight, 
  • 30 minutes of physical activity
  • control diabetes 
The other 20 % of risk comes from factors we can’t change: family history and age.

In the past 12 years, younger women are having heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks. A study*, which followed 1.4 million heart attack patients for 12 years, found that 42 percent of the women experienced a heart attack without any chest pain, compared to 30 percent of the men in the study. Heart attacks also led to death in more of these women — 

“…possibly because they didn’t think they were having a heart attack in the first place, and therefore put off going to the hospital.” 

Most of the women with these atypical symptoms were younger (less than 55 years old).

So what are the symptoms? 

In addition to chest pain and discomfort,watch for:
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain or numbness in places like your jaw, arms, stomach, or back
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Breaking out into a cold sweat

Doctors say that many women think they are stressed, or have a pinched nerve, or have the flu, so they never go to the hospital. Sort of like the woman in this comedy sketch:

But in all seriousness, do you know what to look for in a person who may have just had a stroke?

Help yourself, and others, by remembering the acronym F.A.S.T: (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) or 
get the iPhone App “Spot a Stroke,” if that will make it easier.

There are still 20 some days left in this month, plenty of time to create new habits. 

Now that you have the information how will you take care of your heart this month (and every month)? I know there some very cool red high heels just waiting for you. 

*Journal of the American Heart Association 2011

Health, Heart Attack risks, Heart Attack symptoms, Heart Disease, Heart Health, Heart Month, Red Dress

What’s a Red Dress Have to Do with It?

For the past week, you’ve seen red hearts, candy, flowers and Valentine cards everywhere. Well now that Valentine’s Day has passed, it’s still appropriate to talk about the color red and hearts. 

February is also Heart Month, specifically the health of your heart. This is a time to become aware or reacquaint you with the risk factors leading to heart disease.

iStock photo

The Heart Truth created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women to deliver an urgent wake-up call to American women. The Red Dress® reminds women of the need to protect their heart health, and inspires them to take action.

The symbol links a woman’s focus on her “outer self” to the need to also focus on her “inner self,” especially her heart health. The Red Dress serves as a red alert to convey the message that “Heart Disease Doesn’t Care What You Wear—It’s the #1 Killer of Women. ® “

Heart attacks are the number one killer of women. This is more than Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer and COPD combined. Yes, you read the chart correctly. More deaths than all those diseases combined.

The Heart Truth is a national awareness campaign for women about heart disease sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Their common goal is the better heart health for all women. The Heart Truth campaign warns women about heart disease and provides tools to help them take action against its risk factors.

Women’s risk of heart disease begins to increase from ages 40 to 60. However, it’s never too early—or too late—to take action to prevent and control risk factors since heart disease develops over time and can start at a young age—even in the teen years.

What Are the Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Risk factors are conditions or habits that make a person more likely to develop a disease. They can also increase the chances that an existing disease will get worse. Important risk factors for heart disease that you can do something about are:
·         High blood pressure
·         High blood cholesterol
·         Diabetes
·         Smoking
·         Being overweight
·         Being physically inactive
·         Having a family history of early heart disease
·         Age (55 or older)
Heart Attack Symptoms:
1.      Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the left side of the chest. The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain; it may feel like heartburn or indigestion.

2.      Upper-body discomfort: This symptom can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach (not below the belly button).

3.      Shortness of breath:  This symptom may occur before or with chest pain or discomfort and can even be the only symptom of a heart attack. It can occur while you arc at rest or with minimal physical activity.

4.      Other symptoms to pay attention to: Breaking out in a cold sweat,

5.      Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness), particularly in women (which may be present for days),

6.      Nausea /vomiting,

7.      Light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

Minutes matter. Call 9-1-1 if you have these symptoms.

Your life is in your hands. To assess your own heart health and learn what to do to live better, visit My Life Check, sponsored by the American Heart Association. Your score can be from 1 (riskest) to 10 (heart healthy). This short survey provides a score for your heart health when you answer a few questions.

After the survey, there are several suggestions for you to have a healthier life and to live longer.  My score is 9 with two suggestions: lose 5-10% of my existing body weight (well I already knew that one) and second to increase my weekly exercise by 30 minutes. Do-able.

Take a few minutes to take the survey today. You would like to be around next Valentine’s Day to celebrate and spend time with your loved ones, wouldn’t you?