As many of you may already know February 1st was the National Wear Red Day. But do any of you know exactly why we do this? Well if not I’ll tell you. The National Wear Red Day is a campaign that has been going on for about 10 years to raise awareness about the number 1 killer in women, Heart Disease! February recognizes the Go Red Campaign all month, so it’s not too late to get involved!
According to Dr. Jennifer Mieres, Professor of Cardiology attending cardiologist and Senior Vice President of Community and Public Health at North Shore, an estimated 43 million women are affected by heart disease in the U.S., but only 1 in 5 think that it is their biggest health threat. That’s a staggering number of people, but together raising awareness we can slowly change that so every woman is looking for the signs and preventing heart disease. And just because this targets women doesn’t mean men can’t get involved either, they can advocate just as much as women can.
The first step that everyone needs to know are the signs of a heart attack and they are different in women than they are in men. For women, these are some of the signs that you will see:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that 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 feeling lightheaded.
If you or someone around you is expressing these signs, here is what you need to do:
- Do not wait to call for help. Dial 9-1-1, make sure to follow the operator’s instructions and get to a hospital right away.
- Do not drive yourself or have someone drive you to the hospital unless you have no other choice.
- Try to stay as calm as possible and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for the emergency responders.
There are many ways that we can get out there and help prevent heart disease from overtaking our life together! Men and women both can take part in these activities because men can experience heart disease as well, but it is more prevalent in women. So here are some steps we can take to lower our risk:
- Don’t smoke
- Manage your blood sugar
- Get your blood pressure under control
- Lower your cholesterol
- Know your family history
- Stay active
- Lose weight
- Eat healthy
Just remember to stay informed, educate yourself and others around you and let’s join forces and work to knock out heart disease! Show your dedication by wearing red this month and speaking out to others on the causes, prevention methods, and what we can do to help. For more information on what you can do, check out the Go Red Campaign’s website at http://www.goredforwomen.org