Four Corners Health Department

Real Women Wear Red!

No, we’re not talking about fans of any “Husker” team this time. And, no, we’re not talking about Valentine’s Day either. February is heart month and we are talking about wearing red to help raise awareness and to support women with heart disease. Every year on the first Friday of February people across the nation join together for this cause.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s about one woman every minute! And, it affects one-third of our grandmothers, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends.

Let’s try to clear up some common myths about heart disease…

Myth: “It’s a man’s disease. Women have to worry about cancer and other diseases”.

Fact: Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

Myth: “Heart disease is for old people.”

Fact: Heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. And while the risks do increase with age, things like overeating and an inactive lifestyle can lead to clogged arteries later in life.

Myth: “Heart disease doesn’t affect women who are physically fit”.

Fact: Even if you are active several times a week, your risk for heart disease isn’t completely erased. Things like high cholesterol, eating habits and smoking can offset your other healthy habits. For instance, you can be thin and still have high cholesterol.

*The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. Also, be sure to keep an eye on your blood pressure at your next check-up. Know these important numbers.

Myth: “I don’t have any symptoms”.

Fact: Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they’re often misunderstood. Media has trained us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, feeling lightheaded or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.

Myth: “Heart disease runs in my family so there’s nothing I can do about it anyway”.

Fact: It’s true that women with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, but there’s plenty you can do to dramatically reduce it.

Because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more than 670,000 of women have been saved from heart disease, and 300 fewer are dying per day.

By quitting smoking, leading an active lifestyle, reducing stress, managing a healthy weight, and eating healthy, you can help to prevent heart disease. It is also important to make an action plan with your physician and go in for regular check-ups.

Choose to support the “Go Red for Women” campaign and wear red on Friday, February 7th. For answers to your questions on the prevention of heart disease, contact Four Corners Health Department @ 1-877-337-3573 or info@fourcorners.ne.gov.

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