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Go Red: Women and Heart Disease

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February 7th is designated “Go Red” day by the American Heart Association this year. In support of current research on heart disease and supporting educational efforts on heart disease, everyone is encouraged to wear something with the color red to signify support of these national efforts.

Heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, and is more fatal than all forms of cancer. It is responsible for one of every three deaths in women. Research is showing that women experience signs and symptoms of a heart attack that are often quite different than those occurring in men. The knowledge of such differences can make a critical difference in saving lives.

In women, symptoms of possible heart disease may manifest themselves in the following ways: as indigestion, upper back pain, and jaw pain (versus the traditional chest pain and shortness of breath). Women may also experience fatigue, anxiety, sweating. Early medical intervention is necessary to reduce long term complications and irreversible heart damage. Often times, women do not seek medical attention, as the symptoms are vague and not painful. Thus, proper education of all women on heart disease will reduce the occurrence of long-term damage.

Risk factors for heart disease, for both men and women, include some similarities: physical inactivity, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure levels, smoking, previous heart attack and related heart disease, untreated chronic conditions such as diabetes, and obesity. For more information on how everyone can improve their heart health, visit the American Heart Association for heart healthy advice.

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