Go Red for Women

February 2, 2018 marked the 12th annual National Wear Red Day, which takes place on the first Friday in February to raise awareness for women’s heart health.  “It is not just a man’s disease,” the American Heart Association says on its Go Red for Women page.

According to the Go Red for Women site, heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year.  That is approximately one death every minute!  African American are disproportionately affected by heart disease, with the leading death rate among all the nationalities, regardless of age.

Despite such alarming statistics, there are things that you can do to prevent heart disease and ensure that you or loved ones do not become one of the numbers.

  • Do not smoke (If you do smoke, take steps to quit)
  • Manage your blood sugar levels, including A1C
  • Control your blood pressure (reduce stress and take prescribed medications)
  • Lower your cholesterol
  • Know your family history
  • Stay active
  • Eat healthy (limit unhealthy food and drink choices)
  • Lose weight (Even 5-10 lbs can greatly reduce the chances of a heart attack)

Preventative measures like those above may not always guarantee that a heart attack or stroke will not happen.  As a result, it is important to know the signs of a heart attack or stroke.

Signs of a Heart Attack

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the chest that lasts several minutes or goes away and comes back
  • pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • shortness of breath
  • other signs (e.g. cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness)

Signs of a Stroke

F     Face drooping

A     Arm weakness

S     Slurred speech

T     Time to call 911

If you, your loved one or coworker experience any of these symptoms, do not delay.  Call 911 and get medical assistance immediately.  Immediate action could mean the difference between life and death.