You may have likely heard a LOT about going red for women lately, as February is Heart Health Awareness month. But was does Go Red really mean, Well, according to Go Red For Women the Go Red for Women initiative started in 2004 due to the fact that women were not paying attention and often dismissed the thought of heart disease. As they saw it as an older mans disease. So the Go Red for Women initiative was started by American Heart Association to raise awareness to the fact that heart disease and stroke is the number one killer of Women! They felt that the Go Red for Women was a passionate, emotional and social initiative that would empower women to take charge of their own heart health!
So let’s look at some statistics about Heart Disease and women:
- Heart disease and stroke are the cause of death in 1 out of 3 women each year. It’s estimated that heart disease kills one women every 80 seconds.
- There are an estimated 44 MILLION women in the United States alone who are affected by heart disease.
- Approximately 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
- Higher Lifetime risk of stroke are found in women.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Hispanic women, killing approximately 21,000 yearly.
- Heart disease and strokes are the leading cause of death in African-American women, killing over 48,000 women yearly!
- 80% of heart disease and stroke events could be prevented by lifestyle and education.
- In general fewer women survive their first heart attack then men.
- Hispanic women are more likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women
- Symptoms of a heart attack can be much different in women vs men.
- Women who get involved the Go Red for women movement live healthier lives.
These statistics are sobering. One of the above facts that needs to be discussed further is the fact that the signs and symptoms of heart attack can lookvery different in women & men! So let’s look at typical signs of a heart attack that many know, and signs seen in women.
Signs of a Heart Attack in men:
Pain: may have pain in between shoulder blades, arm, chest, jaw, left arm, or upper abdomen and pain may occur at rest. The pain is often be explained as an elephant on the chest or crushing chest pain!
Other Symptoms: dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, clammy skin, sweating, heartburn, indigestion, nausea or vomiting, feeling of anxiety or impending doom, or shortness of breath!
Signs of a Heart Attack in Women:
Pain: Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain in the center of your chest. It may either last a few minutes or come and go. (They don’t generally have the crushing chest pain that men do!). They may also feel pain in one or both arms, the back or the stomach.
Other symptoms: shortness of breath with or without chest pain, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light headedness.
As with men, the most common sign is chest pain of some kind. However, women are more likely to experience fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath or pain in the back or jaw.
As a women what can I do to prevent a heart attack or heart disease and stroke?
There are many ways that this can be done. But here are some of the most common ways that we can prevent heart disease.
The biggest way we as women can prevent heart disease is EDUCATION!!! Any women with the right information, education and care by physicians can treat, prevent or even delete the risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that by making healthy choices deaths from heart disease have declined by 330.
A person with heart disease is also at risk for a stroke. Not just a heart attack. So let’s look at the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Let me just stress that if you or a family member feels that they are having a stroke, one should get medical attention immediately!
Signs and Symptoms of Stroke:
- Trouble walking, speaking and understanding as well as numbness of the face, arm or leg. (Numbers is generally noted on one side of the body)
- Weak muscles, problems with coordination, stiff muscles, overactive muscles
- Balance issues, fatigue, lightheadedness or vertigo
- Blurred vision, double vision, sudden visual loss, or temporary loss of vision in one eye
- Difficulty speaking, slurred speech or speech loss
- Difficulty swallowing, headache, problems understanding what others are saying, mental confusion, rapid involuntary movement
Here is a list of lifestyle changes that can be made to prevent strokes and heart disease:
- Don’t smoke, and if you do currently, you need to quit ASAP!
- Watch your blood sugar and make sure you are keeping it within a healthy range!
- Watch you blood pressure and with the help of a physician find a way to keep it in a healthy range.
- Lower your cholesterol
- Know your family history
- Find a way to get active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet
Even though Heart disease & Stroke are the number one killer of women, it is preventable. We need to share information and education with all women to make sure that we all know the things we can do to lower our risks and prevent heart disease.