I’m a heart attack survivor. It still seems a bit strange to say that. Until I had a heart attack myself, I tended to think of heart attacks happening to men. I didn’t know that heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
Friday, February 5, is Wear Red Day for 2016, the 13th annual Wear Red Day. Wear Red Day was started 13 years ago to raise awareness and help save women’s lives. It’s sponsored by Go Red for Women, part of the American Heart Association. It’s also the start of American Heart Month.
In observance of Wear Red Day, there are three things I’m asking of everyone:
- Please wear red on Friday.
- Please help spread the word and encourage others to learn about this number one killer of women.
- Please make a donation to the American Heart Association, if you can, and encourage others to donate. It’s easy to donate through the Go Red for Women web site.
Know the Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke:
Everyone should know the signs of both heart attack and stroke.
A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot. If this clot cuts off the blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die.
Signs of a Heart Attack:
- 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 cold swear, nausea or lightheadedness.
- Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particular shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Stroke is the number three cause of death of America. It’s also a major cause of severe, long-term disability. Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) happen when a blood vessel feeding the brain gets clogged or bursts. The signs of a TIA are like a stroke, but usually last only a few minutes.
Signs of Stroke and TIAs:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
What does it mean to “Go Red?” One way to explain that is through this short video:What We Need to Do to Protect Ourselves:*Educate ourselves about heart health and heart disease.*Have a discussion with our doctors about our risks and reducing modifiable risk factors. Eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. See [7 Modifiable Heart Disease Risk Factors for Women](http://www.healthcentral.com/heart-disease/cf/slideshows/7-modifiable-heart-disease-risk-factors-women). * Love ourselves, and show that love by taking care of ourselves as best we can.
Spread the Word!
- Wear red on Friday, and tell people why you’re wearing red.
- Share information with others, especially women. You can find a great deal of information on Go Red for Women and You’re the Cure.
- Become a You’re the Cure Advocate. Each of us can make a huge difference with as much or as little time as we have to spend on it.
More Helpful Information:
From my heart to yours,
Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation’s Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.