Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program is recognizing Wear Red Day on February 3rd and February as American Heart Month. Wear Red Day is an effort to raise awareness of women and heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women across the country and the second leading cause of death in New Hampshire.
According to the American Heart Association, one in three women die of heart disease. The American Heart Association also indicates that only 55% of women realize heart disease is their number one killer, and fewer than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol. The good news is that both men and women can lower their risk of heart disease by as much as 82% by leading a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association first launched the Go Red for Women campaign in 2004 to try to change these numbers.
“More women die in the U.S. from heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The Go Red for Women initiative is meant to raise awareness, educate, and encourage women to take charge of their health. There is much we can do to improve our health and decrease our chances for heart disease, such as eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, quitting smoking, exercising more, and getting a physical exam regularly. It is also important to know the warning signs for a heart attack because they are sometimes different for women.”
The signs and symptoms of a heart attack can include:
- Chest discomfort - uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Upper body discomfort - pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath - with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs – 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.
If you experience any of these signs and symptoms, seek immediate medical attention or call 911.
For more information about the American Heart Association, the Go Red for Women Campaign, Wear Red Day, or American Heart Month, visit these websites: www.heart.org, www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth, or www.goredforwomen.org. To contact the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program at DHHS call 603-271-4544.