Go Red for Women with the American Heart Association

photo of green apple with red apple heart and red apple with green apple heart

When the month of February rolls around, many people envision items associated with Valentine's Day like hearts and the color red. This is also the time of year when it's National Heart Month with different diseases affecting these organs and is the leading cause of death for both men and women. The American Heart Association (AHA) is committed to raising awareness about these deadly diseases with their Go Red for Women platform and foundation that's also held during the month of February. 

Myths, Facts, and Stats

According to facts and statistics from the AHA, nearly 80% of cardiac events are preventable. Heart and cardiovascular diseases continue to be women's biggest health risk claiming the life of one in three females. It's important to note one of the biggest myths the AHA is attempting to dispel is that chest pain is the only sign of danger from a heart attack. While pain, tightness, pressure, or a feeling of fullness in the center of the chest is common for both men and women, other symptoms and warning signs for females include:

  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
  • Nausea and/or a feeling of being lightheaded or dizzy
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Pain or discomfort in the back, neck, jaw, and/or stomach

These types of symptoms are often different from what men may experience. The described signs and feelings can be persistent, may come and go over time or be a one-time occurrence. It's vital to seek medical attention immediately when these symptoms are present, painful, and persistent. Even when mild, women should always discuss these matters with their physician, primary health provider, or caregiver.

Reducing the Risks

Most are already aware things like smoking, tobacco use, and drinking alcoholic beverages in excess will increase the risk of a cardiac event. Along with exercise and maintaining a healthy weight, there are many ways women should consider to help increase their chances of conquering heart conditions: 

Stress Management: Instead of smoking or drinking to deal with anxiety, other ways of managing stress include getting regular exercise, meditation, listening to soothing music, imagining calm places and spaces. 

Getting Enough Sleep: Not getting enough shut-eye nightly not only reduces risks of heart-related problems but will also help to decrease high blood pressure, may aid in avoiding obesity, and can curtail diabetes. 

Manage Diabetes: Speaking of diabetes, those with this condition are twice as likely to suffer from diabetes-related heart disease. Over time, high blood sugar levels damage blood vessels along with the nerves that control the heart and blood vessels. 

Keep Cholesterol in Check: Make sure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels are under control. High levels of these toxic substances in the bloodstream can clog arteries and significantly increase the risk of cardiac events and heart disease. 

There are certain cases where some risk factors simply aren't able to be reduced or avoided like advancing age or a history of heart disease among biological family members. For example, gender generally plays a role since the presence of estrogen provides some protection against heart disease for females. However, diabetes raises the risk of heart disease more in women compared to men.

Ethnicity is also thrown into the equation when looking at different races that have higher numbers compared to others. For instance, African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to have heart disease while Hispanics are less likely to contract heart disease. Certain Asian groups like those in the east have lower rates compared to orientals living in the west with higher numbers reported. 

Here at Buckeye Broadband, we'll be attending Go Red for Women Luncheon this week and are proud to support this cause along with many local non-profits and charities in our area. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or comments on how you can help. 

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