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 the 10th anniversary of Wear Red Day on February 1st and February as American Heart Month. Wear Red Day is an effort to raise awareness about 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 four women die of heart disease, but only about half realize heart disease is their number one killer. Fewer than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and cholesterol. Heart disease is also the number one killer of men in the U.S., but 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 2003 to try to change these numbers.
“It is so important for women to understand their risk and take more steps toward prevention,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. “The Million Hearts partnership launched in 2011 among states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid is also aiming to reduce the number or heart attacks and strokes by 1 million by the year 2017. The steps we can take require commitment and may take some practice but they are well worth it.”
Take these steps toward a healthier life and a healthier heart:
- GET UP and GET ACTIVE by exercising for 30 minutes several days a week.
- KNOW your ABCS:
- Appropriate Aspirin Therapy
- Blood Pressure Control
- Cholesterol Management
- Smoking Cessation
- STAY STRONG by eating a heart-healthy diet that is high in fresh fruits and vegetables and low in sodium, saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol.
- TAKE CONTROL of your heart health by following your doctor’s instructions for medications and treatment.
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 can last for more than a few minutes or go away and come 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, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org, the Million Hearts Campaign at www.millionhearts.hhs.gov, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov/heartdisease.