Wear Red (to)Day…Increasing Awareness about the #1 Killer of Women
First Fridays in First Person. One in four women dies from heart disease. It’s the #1 killer of women, regardless of race or ethnicity. While the risk rises in middle age, signs and symptoms are seen in women aged younger than most would expect. Here are two women’s stories.
“I have some risk factors for heart disease: high cholesterol,
age, and family history. I’ve had a lot of friends who have had heart attacks and this has made me aware that I need to take care of myself. You can’t wait until a heart attack happens, by then it’s too late. I try to live a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods and finding creative ways to exercise—like dancing.”
“No one, least of all me, was ever really concerned about my
heart health because I didn’t have any risk factors. One day I started coughing and couldn’t stop and went to the emergency room where I was told that I was having a flash pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure. So often women tend to put everyone they care for in front of their own needs and ignore the symptoms. To women, I say pay attention to your body, don’t just ignore the symptoms, empower yourself with knowledge—insist on proper cardiac care.”
Not just a man’s issue. National Wear Red Day and The Red Dress symbol was designed to build awareness that women are at risk for heart disease, and motivate them to take action to reduce their risk. So take action by asking your doctor questions about your risk. Then work out an action plan with her to manage those risks.
- Eat smarter. Learn how to prepare and eat heart healthy meals.
- Get moving. Maintain regular regimen of physical activity.
- Quit smoking.
- Manage your high blood pressure and diabetes.
- See your doctor (at least) annually for essential screening tests.