By donning red clothing on the first Friday in February, millions of people all over the country are helping to raise awareness of the threat of cardiovascular disease in women and ways to reduce their risk. The American Heart Association (AHA) has named February American Heart Month and encourages everyone to be more aware of heart disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women. The following information is from the AHA:
In 2004, the AHA created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health as well as band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges women to know their risk for heart disease and use the tools that that Go Red For Women provides to take action to reduce their personal risk. Since the first National Wear Red Day 10 years ago, tremendous strides have been made in the fight against heart disease in women.
It’s time once again to Go Red. Join us.
Dial 9-1-1 Fast
Heart attack and stroke are life-and-death emergencies — every second counts. If you see or have any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes they go away and return. If some occur, get help fast! Today heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So again, don’t delay — get help right away!
STROKE WARNING SIGNS: Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T.:
- Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
- Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
- Time to call 9-1-1 – If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
HEART ATTACK WARNING SIGNS
- Chest Discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in Other Areas of the Upper Body – Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of Breath – with or without chest discomfort.
- Other Signs – may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Americans at Risk
High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
Protect Your Heart
Lowering you blood pressure and cholesterol will reduce your risk of dying of heart disease. Here are some tips to protect your heart:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay on your medications.
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt; low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol; and rich in fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Take a brisk 10-minute walk, 3 times a day, 5 days a week.
- Don’t smoke. If you smoke, quit as soon as possible.