February is Heart Month, as presented by the American Heart Association, to bring awareness for heart disease. One day out of the month, they have a day to go red for women and raise awareness about the number of women who suffer from heart disease and stroke.
Go Red for Women and Raise Awareness
We all have at least one woman in our life that means a lot to us. Whether it be your mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, or friend, women need to know the threat of heart disease.
Women tend to think that heart disease and heart attacks do not affect them like they do men. Many believe that men should eat healthily and visit their doctor since they fall victim to these issues more often.
However, women are just as likely as men to have heart disease and strokes. Every 1 in 3 women dies from heart disease or stroke, meaning every 80 seconds a woman dies from one of these illnesses.
One researcher conducted studies for 15 years. She found that since 1984, 4x as many women died from heart disease than men.
She noted that heart disease research had mostly been done on men, which is why it has commonly been known as a “man’s disease.” Women’s heart disease research is 35 years behind men’s heart disease research.
Additionally, women’s symptoms of heart disease and heart attacks vary from woman to woman, whereas with men they’re typically the same. As a result, women tend to get overlooked and misdiagnosed, which causes more deaths than necessary.
Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women
The following are symptoms that women will typically experience when having a heart attack. If you experience any of them, call 911.
- Uncomfortable squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that either lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes.
- Discomfort or pain in the back, neck, jaw, stomach, or in one or both arms.
- Shortness of breath (with or without feeling chest discomfort).
- Developing nausea, lightheadedness or a cold sweat.
The main symptom of a heart attack in both men and women is chest pain and/or discomfort. However, women are likely to experience these additional symptoms as well, specifically back/jaw pain, nausea/vomiting, and shortness of breath.
According to Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer, women’s heart attacks can be different.
“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure.”
“Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”
The consequences of ignoring subtle warning signs can be deadly, so get help right away if you or a woman you know is experiencing these symptoms.
The American Heart Association promotes Go Red for Women because, with more education and research, the number of women who suffer from heart disease and strokes will diminish.
The AHA believes that up to 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented.
You can Go Red for Women and raise awareness for the women in your life! Talking to the women around you about how to prevent heart conditions can help reduce the deaths caused by them.