Friday, Feb. 1 represents 10 years of going red to build awareness and fight the number 1 killer of women and men in America. The fight against cardiovascular disease took on novel dimensions when the Go Red campaign began leading efforts in research, prevention, and treatment of heart disease and stroke in women. With 1 in 3 women still dying of heart disease each year, the American Heart Association Go Red campaign is not resting.
In recognition of the 10th National Wear Red Day, Go Red asked women to wear red proudly, “But this February, let’s do more than that. Let’s make sure that every landmark, every Main Street, every organization and every home in America goes red.”
It is time for people to know more women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer. Of the 43 million women nationwide who are affected by heart disease and stroke each year, some 26,000 mothers, daughters, and wives in Pennsylvania alone will likely die.
Forty-two-year-old Amy Heinl of Pittsburgh could not imagine a heart attack would ever happen to her. She was a typical mother of 3 boys on the go with work and family. Not a lot of time was devoted to her, yet she tried to fit in exercise. In fact, she was in the middle of an early morning workout with light weights when her artery tore 2½ inches. “I truly believed I had pulled a muscle,” Heinl said.
Doctors made it clear her life was at stake. It was while recovering from successful surgery that Heinl committed to lifestyle changes. “I still have the occasional glass of wine or slice of pizza,” she explained, “but I’ve really prioritized health in our family.”
Heindl and the American Heart Association want people to learn how to prevent cardiovascular disease and recognize the symptoms when they occur. The disease may take the form of blocked blood vessels in the brain, around the heart, or elsewhere. It can be an irregular heartbeat.
The typical symptoms manifested are undue fatigue; feeling as if the heart is skipping a beat or is beating too rapidly; difficult or labored breathing; chest discomfort from increased activity; pains shooting out to the shoulders and arms; pain in the jaw, neck or back; and/or feeling weak and light-headed.
Strokes tend to cause a headache from no known origin; slurred speech; a numb or drooping face; numbness or weakness in the hand, arm, or leg; an imbalance or trouble walking; and/or trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
If any symptoms appear, according to experts, do not debate them. Call 911 and get medical treatment immediately. Women, believe it or not, are less likely to call for help when experiencing a heart attack or mini-stroke. Heindl wisely got the help needed and feels lucky to be alive today.
Not only survival but prevention is within everyone’s control to a certain degree. Simply managing one’s diet, exercise, cholesterol, and blood pressure, plus cutting out smoking can go a long way toward better health.
Check out the Go Red for Women campaign and learn more about reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Donate to fight the disease. And, spread the word about prevention and symptoms to save lives. For more details, visit www.goredforwomen.org or click here to see what is happening in Greater Philadelphia.
“It’s time,” states the American Heart Association, “to come together in a movement that is not just for women, but by women. It’s time for women to Go Red.”
All rights to this article are reserved by Gloria Blakely. Copyright 2013.