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Go Red for Women Day - February 4
Nationwide, diseases of the heart is the leading cause of death and stroke is the fourth leading cause of death. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 52% of all deaths due to cardiovascular disease and 60% of stroke deaths occur in females. That is more than the next four causes of death in women combined, including cancer. As a result, AHA hopes to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke in women with campaigns such as Go Red for Women Day that encourage women to learn more about the disease, get check-ups, exercise regularly and embrace a healthy diet. Go Red For Women® is the American Heart Association’s national call to increase awareness about heart disease—the leading cause of death for women—and to inspire women to take charge of their heart health. All women should learn their own personal risk for heart disease, using tools such as the American Heart Association’s My Life Check, Go Red For Women® Heart CheckUp, Go Red For Women® Better U - and by talking to their healthcare provider. To call attention to this important issue, the American Heart Association urges all citizens to show their support for women and the fight against heart disease, commemorating this day by wearing the color red. By increasing awareness, speaking up about heart disease, and empowering women to reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease, we can save thousands of lives each year.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes diseases of the heart and blood vessels. It is typically a process that begins in childhood and involves a gradual buildup of plaque inside your arteries. Plaque contains fat, cholesterol and other substances, and can grow large enough to significantly reduce blood flow through an artery. Most of the damage occurs when a plaque becomes fragile and ruptures.

Plaques that rupture can cause blood clots to form. These clots can block blood flow at the site of the rupture or can break off and travel through the artery to another part of the body. If either happens and blocks an artery that feeds the heart or brain, it causes a heart attack or stroke. Strokes can cause paralysis, affect language and vision, and cause other problems.
Seeking early treatment can minimize the potentially devastating effects of a heart attack or stroke, but to receive them, a person must recognize the warning signs and act quickly.

Here are some signs a heart attack may be happening:
  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs of discomfort. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
For more information about Go Red for Women day and ways to reduce heart disease, visit www.americanheart.org