Migraine, Heart Attack, Stroke, and Women - Wear Red Day 2015

Patient Expert
Reviewed by
AHA

We've seen the research that shows migraine is associated with myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke, and claudication (pain in the calf, thigh, or hip muscle that occurs after walking). Given that and that the majority of our readers are women, we observe National Wear Red Day and talk about women and heart health every year. Another reason I think it's important is that I'm a heart attack survivor myself.

About National Wear Red Day

Go Red For Women ® started more than 10 years ago because the American Heart Association learned that more women were dying from heart disease than men. This year, National Wear Red Day is Friday, February 6. For too long, there's been the misconception that heart disease is a "man's disease."

"Go Red" can also be an acronym. To "Go Red" means:>** G** et Your Numbers: Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.

O wn Your Lifestyle: Stop smoking, lose weight, be physically active and eat healthy.
R aise Your Voice: Advocate for more women-related research and education.
E ducate Your Family: Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach your kids the importance of staying active.
D onate: Show your support with a donation of time or money.

I fact, when one woman went to the hospital with symptoms, she was actually told, "It's just a migraine." How ironic! How fortunate that she didn't believe them! **Facts About Cardiovascular Diseases and Women:****FACT 1**: Cardiovascular diseases cause one in three women's deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.*An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.*90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.*80% of heart disease and stroke events could be prevented.**FACT 2**: Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease & stroke.*Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack*The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood - even by some physicians.*Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.*Each year, about 55,000 more women than men have a stroke.**FACT 3**: Heart disease and stroke affect women of all ethnicities.*Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women, killing nearly 50,000 annually.*Only 43% of African American women and 44% of Hispanic women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk, compared with 60% of Caucasian women.*Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 48.9% have cardiovascular disease. Yet, only 20% believe they are at risk.*Only 50% of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.*Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.*Only 3 in 10 Hispanic women say they have been informed that they are at a higher risk.*Only 1 in 4 Hispanic women is aware of treatment options.**FACT 4**: Women who are involved with the Go Red For Women movement live healthier lives.*Nearly 90% have made at least one healthy behavior change.*More than one-third has lost weight.*More than 50% have increased their exercise.*6 out of 10 have changed their diets.*More than 40% have checked their cholesterol levels.*One third has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.** FACT 5**: When you get involved in supporting Go Red For Women by advocating, fundraising and sharing your story, more lives are saved.*Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day*Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years. Wrapping Up:Everyone, not just women, needs to know that the symptoms of heart attacks and heart disease are different in women. Those of us with migraine disease need to remember that having migraine increases our risk of heart attack, stroke, and claudication. That said, the increased risk is absolutely not a reason to panic. It is, however, an excellent reason to discuss all of our risk factors with our doctors so we can work to reduce modifiable risk factors such as:*use of hormonal birth control,*weight issues,*exercise issues,*proper nutrition, and*others.I hope you'll join me in observance of Wear Red Day by wearing red AND by sharing this information with others. * * *Sources:[www.GoRedForWomen.org](https://www.goredforwomen.org/home/get-involved/national-wear-red-day/)

Live well,

PurpleRibbonTiny Teri1

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