Go RED for Women


February is American Heart Month and Friday the 3rd is GO RED FOR WOMEN! Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States and the #1 killer of women, taking more lives than all cancers combined. Go Red for Women inspires women to make lifestyle changes and helps shape policies to save lives. Knowing the causes, risk factors, symptoms, and health tips can help not only improve the health of all women and men, but even prevent the disease in many. We encourage you to “Go RED” with us on Friday by wearing red to raise awareness to this disease, it’s causes, and ways to help prevent it.

Heart disease or “cardiovascular disease” refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that prevent the heart, brain, and other parts of the body from receiving enough blood and oxygen and can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions that affect the heart’s muscle, valves, or rhythm are also considered forms of heart disease. The causes of heart disease vary for each disease type. Because there are so many types, causes may vary and can include:

  • An unhealthy diet

  • Lack of exercise

  • Being overweight

  • Smoking

  • Congenital heart defects

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol

  • Diabetes

  • Excessive use of alcohol or caffeine

  • Drug abuse

  • Stress

  • Some over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, dietary supplements and herbal remedies

  • Aging

  • Infections

  • Toxins

  • Genetics

  • Bacteria

  • Viruses

  • Parasites

  • Connective tissue disorders

Oftentimes patients are not diagnosed with heart disease until after a heart attack, angina, stroke or heart failure. Always be aware of your body, visit your physician on a regular basis, and report any changes in your body and lifestyle. Heart disease can also present itself very differently in women than in men. For example, heart attack symptoms are very different between the two genders with chest pain being a common symptom in men and women commonly having symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, and jaw pain. It’s important to understand all of the possible symptoms. Symptoms of a heart attack can commonly include:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms

  • Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back

Symptoms caused by abnormal heartbeats or arrhythmias can include:

  • Fluttering in your chest

  • Racing heartbeat (tachycardia)

  • Slow heartbeat (bradycardia)

  • Chest pain or discomfort

  • Shortness of breath

  • Lightheadedness

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting (syncope) or near fainting

Symptoms caused by other types of heart disease can include:

  • Pale gray or blue skin color (cyanosis)

  • Swelling in the feet, legs, abdomen or areas around the eyes

  • Fever

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dry or persistent cough

  • Skin rashes or unusual spots

  • Fainting (syncope)

Seek emergency medical care if you have any of these heart disease symptoms:

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fainting

Heart disease like many other conditions are more manageable when they are detected early, so speak to your physician about any concerns or if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. If not detected early, heart disease can result in many complications including:

  • Heart failure

  • Heart attack

  • Stroke

  • Aneurysm

  • Peripheral artery disease

  • Sudden cardiac arrest

While there are causes and risk factors such as genetics for some types of heart disease, there are still things you can do to help manage, treat, and sometimes prevent further complications. Be sure to follow our blog next week to find out what you can do to help protect yourself against many types of heart disease. For more information on Go Red for Women, visit www.goredforwomen.org. We can’t wait to see you in your red on Friday!

Source: https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/about-heart-disease-in-women/

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