Wear Red Tomorrow for Women’s Heart Health!
Mind-numbing fact: More women die of cardiovascular disease than from all forms of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association.
Eye-opening fact: 80 percent of cardiac events in women—which include heart attacks and strokes—could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking, according to the AHA. And nearly half of American women have no idea that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
The American Heart Association wants to change that. Its Go Red For Women campaign educates women about their heart disease risk, how they can reduce their risk, and how to identify the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke (check out the info below). Tomorrow, February 3, is National Wear Red Day and women are encouraged to don something red to raise awareness that heart disease is not an “old man’s disease.”
Women’s Health staffers are going to get decked out in red and we invite all of you to join us. But simply wearing crimson won’t accomplish much—you’ve got to tell other women why you’re doing it. Our suggestion? Post a picture of yourself wearing red to your blog or Facebook or Twitter profile, along with a link to this story. (Twitter-ers: The hashtag is #GoRedForWomen.) Who knows? One of your friends might learn something that could save her life.
How to Protect Your Ticker
“It’s important to take care of your heart even before you have any symptoms,” says Arthur Agatston, M.D., a Miami cardiologist and author of The South Beach Heart Program. “Quite simply, the earlier you start, the easier it is to prevent heart disease.” The best ways to reduce your risk for heart disease:
1. Eat More Plants and Fish: Certain fruits and vegetables are good sources of heart-protecting antioxidants and potassium, which regulates blood pressure. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish decreasing your blood pressure and triglycerides.
2. Cut the Fat: Reduce your intake of saturated fat and trans fat; the latter can raise levels of bad cholesterol and also lower levels of good cholesterol.
3. Know Your Risk: have your physician to check for high cholesterol, elevated blood sugar, and signs of diabetes. Know your family’s medical history.
4. Be Active: The AHA recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity each week
5. Quit Smoking: Besides the fact that cigarettes cause cancer, are expensive, and just plain smell bad, they could very well kill you.
What exactly does a heart attack look like? Actress Elizabeth Banks, who graces the March cover of Women’s Health, teamed up with Go Red For Women on a 3-minute video in which she plays a mom having a heart attack. “This little film is about a super mom who takes care of everyone except herself and learns the lesson that she better look at herself as well,” Banks says.
Heart attacks are no laughing matter, but Banks manages to make viewers smile when her son in the video looks up heart attack symptoms on her iPhone and hands it to his chest-clutching mom, who previously insisted that she was fine. Banks finally calls 911. Study up on the signs of heart attack and stroke from the AHA so you know when to make that important call.
Signs of a Heart Attack:
- 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.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Signs of a Stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause