“As women,” says Rachel D’Souza-Seibert a heart-attack survivor, “we need to learn where to draw the line so we can take care of ourselves.” Rachel (who you can learn more about here) is just one of the thousands of women who’ve decided to Go Red.
Going Red on February 6 for National Wear Red Day for Women can help bring attention to the number 1 and number 5 killers of women in America – heart disease and stroke. That’s right – heart disease is more deadly than any cancer. By bringing the spotlight to heart disease, more women stand a fighting chance against its deadliness.
There are a number of myths that keep heart disease from getting the attention it needs. Let’s address some of the most common ones.
“Isn’t breast cancer a more pressing threat for women?”
Concerns over breast cancer are absolutely real, and it is wonderful that this deadly problem has gathered so much awareness in the last few years. However, while 1 in 31 American women die from breast cancer every year, 1 in 3 will die from heart disease.
“I don’t need to worry about it now- I’m too young!”
Heart disease affects people of all ages. For women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking can increase your risk by 20%! It’s true that your risk increases with age, but factors such as overeating or a sedentary lifestyle can lead to clogged arteries later in life.
“Heart disease won’t affect healthy women.”
Actually, even if you lead a healthy life, you may still be at risk. Even a yoga-loving marathon runner could have been born with arrhythmia (heart rhythm problems) or other heart problems that increase your risk. Further, thin people could still have high cholesterol. Eating habits, smoking, cholesterol, or family history will counterbalance other healthy habits, so keeping an eye on blood pressure and cholesterol levels is essential.
“If heart disease runs in my family, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
False! Although you’re at a higher risk, you can dramatically reduce it by keeping your heart healthy.
“I don’t have symptoms, so I don’t need to worry about it.”
Actually, 64% of women who die suddenly from coronary heart disease don’t show symptoms. Movies and television have taught us that extreme chest pain is a sign of heart attack. For women, it is more likely that they will experience shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, fatigue, and jaw or back pain.
There is plenty you can do to stand up to heart disease, reduce your risk, and raise awareness. We paint it pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness- now is the time to Go Red for Women. Stand up to Heart Disease.
For more information, visit Go Red for Women with the American Heart Association.