Go Red! It’s Time to Make a Fuss About Your Heart

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

February is the month dedicated to heart health awareness. Why make such a fuss?

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Number ONE!

However, just ten years ago, women in the United States were relatively unaware of this state of health. Most women considered heart disease a man’s disease. Most women did not know the warning signs of a heart attack. And many times, doctors did not even know how to find heart disease in women!

The American Heart Association set out to change that. They established the Go Red campaign ten years ago. They got media on board, hosted educational rallies and seminars, and taught doctors and other professionals about heart disease in a woman’s body. The result, thus far, of the Go Red campaign is quite literally hundreds of thousands of lives. Approximately 330 lives are saved every day thanks to new awareness of women-specific symptoms of heart disease and heart attack.

Check out this video on how far we have come with heart disease awareness for women, thanks to the American Heart Association

What are the signs that I may have heart disease?

First, know your numbers. The following are indicators of heart disease:

  • high blood pressure (over 120/80)
  • high cholesterol (over 200)
  • high blood triglycerides

Sometimes, these numbers are inherited. Many times, they are based on lifestyle choice, such as:

  • sedentary lifestyle
  • smoking
  • high fat diets

You can not change your family history, but you can change your choices. Changing your lifestyle, quitting smoking, and changing to a healthy diet are choices that can save your life. They are predecessors to medicine. If you need help with any of those choices in life, see a doctor, registered dietician, smoking cessation specialist, health coach, or personal trainer.

After better choices are made, if the numbers do not come down to a safe level, the doctor will probably prescribe medicine to control these numbers. For many people, the combination of lifestyle change and medicine is the key to a longer life.

As a woman, how do I know if I am having a heart attack?

Keep this information with you for safe keeping, should you ever experience these symptoms.

  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 a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. 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.

Frighteningly, sometimes women think they are experiencing the flu when they are actually having a heart attack.

SML TIP:When in doubt, if you experience the symptoms listed above, call 911.

For more information or to help with the Go Red campaign, make sure to visit the American Heart Association Website.

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