It’s hard to talk about heart disease in women without getting a little dark, right off the bat. Because, ladies, more women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined. More women die from heart disease than die from all kinds of cancer combined.
And here’s some news that’s as good as it is disheartening: 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made better choices about exercise, diet and smoking.
What I love about that statistic is that we’re practically in charge of this thing. Each of us can do a lot to avoid experiencing one of those preventable cardiac events. I wrote about BetterU here, and I can’t say enough about this program. It’s a fantastic, user-friendly way to start making your heart healthier.
And of course this is American Heart Month, which means it’s also time for Go Red For Women. Join us for the Go Red For Women luncheon, February 17. It’s a jam-packed event, with a (heart healthy!) lunch, free health screenings, educational breakout sessions and then some. It’s also one of the nation’s biggest fundraisers, which is good news, given how far we still have to go to get the word out about women and heart health.
For now, let me do my part. Please take a close look at the signs of a heart attack. This is not a “one or two are okay” kind of list. You don’t need to have all of these symptoms to be in trouble. In fact, if you have one of them, please call for help right away.
I’m not kidding here: If you have one symptom on this list, get to a hospital or call 911.
Here are the signs of a heart attack in women, straight from the American Heart Association:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It 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 lightheadedness.
- As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Please check out BetterU for a great first step toward better heart health. And I hope to see you at the Go Red For Women luncheon.
If you have questions about heart health — or any other health concern — you can call 317-338-4-HER to talk to a registered nurse or use this form to talk to me directly.