Be ready to show your RED as we celebrate healthy and loving hearts for American Heart Month!
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both women and men, which makes it imperative that we become aware and start taking action to avert this preventable disease. February 1st is National Wear Red Day® for women’s heart health, so grab your red and wear it on the first day of February — and throughout the month — to help spread the word.
The heart is one of the most amazing and important organs in our body. Every day the heart beats about 115,000 times, pumps up to 2,000 gallons of blood, and has its own electrical system. This marvelous system works like a spark plug, firing a constant impulse that spreads throughout the heart, causing it to contract and carry oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body and other important organs (like your brain, which you are using right now to read this, thanks to your heart). And to top it off, the heart can beat even after it is removed from the body, and later be transplanted into another person, giving them a chance at life! How amazing is that?
Now that we know some facts about how cool our hearts are, let’s take a look at why heart disease is such a concern.
While anyone can develop heart disease, certain factors can increase one’s risk. About half of Americans have one of these (most often preventable) risk factors, including:
Unfortunately, some women do not have any symptoms of heart disease until they start experiencing a heart attack, heart failure, or stroke. Multiple life-threatening conditions can result from heart disease, so it’s important to recognize the signs and get help right away, as it’s more likely you will save a life and prevent permanent damage to the heart tissue.
A Special Note on Heart Attack: A Woman’s Experience May Be Different
Men and women will typically experience unusual heavy pressure on the chest (think of heavy bricks laying on your chest), but women are more likely to experience other, non-classic heart attack symptoms such as sudden unexplained fatigue, sweating, or unexplained nausea and/or vomiting. More women die from heart attacks because they are not informed of these types of non-classic symptoms. Help to get the word out! Share this information with women you care about.
More women die from heart attacks because they are not informed of these types of non-classic symptoms.
Prevention is key, especially with heart disease. And no matter your age, there is no better time than now to implement these positive lifestyle changes into your routine. While the list below may seem overwhelming, just remember that even one small change can make a difference in your heart health. Healthy lifestyle modifications include:
. . .there is no better time than now to implement these positive lifestyle changes into your routine.
As much as we are talking about women and heart disease, it’s important to also remember the beautiful men in our lives. Their hearts matter too, so don’t forget to spread the word on heart health to them as well!
So when someone asks you, “Why all the RED?” You can tell them this… “I’m spreading the love that we need to show to our hearts, not just during heart month, but every day!”
Lori Fauquier WHNP-BC and Justine Della Fave WHNP-BC, CNM, Pill Club Nurse Practitioners