We tend to focus on diseases when they happen, rather than asking how we can prevent them from happening. That’s always through education, and it needs constant reinforcement. Heart month is a great time for that – that you have one heart. Take good care of it.
OSF HealthCare Celebrates Heart Month
Go Red for Women
The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement will spread awareness for heart disease and stroke in women on February 3, 2017, in honor of Wear Red Day.
Women are encouraged to wear red, decorate their homes and offices in red, and to encourage other women they know to make a change to improve their heart health.
“Go Red For Women is a physical reminder of heart health education and prevention. It's impossible to miss. It's a fun way to promote the cause, and it also adds energy to the environment,” said Dr. Yogesh Agarwal, MD of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, IL, a Go Red for Women sponsor.
OSF HealthCare employees will be participating in Wear Red Day by prominently displaying red throughout the halls, from clothing to décor.
OSF HealthCare is working to bring attention to heart health awareness during the entire month of February. To find an event near you, visit LANDING PAGE URL.
More women die of heart disease and stroke than men. In fact, it remains the number one killer of women, taking one in three lives each year.
The good news is, with education and action, 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented. So the Go Red For Women movement also advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health, for this very reason.
“I think prevention is the key. We don’t focus on it enough,” said Dr. Agarwal. "We tend to focus on diseases when they happen, rather than asking how we can prevent them from happening. That’s always through education, and it needs constant reinforcement. Heart month is a great time for that – that you have one heart. Take good care of it.”
According to the AHA, chest pain is often not a symptom for women. Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.
Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they are often misunderstood. While a telltale sign of a heart attack could be extreme chest pain, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, and extreme fatigue.
Major heart health misconceptions:
*Heart disease is for old people. But heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. While the risks do increase with age, things like overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can cause plaque to accumulate and lead to clogged arteries later in life. Even if someone leads a completely healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.
*Heart disease does not affect women who are fit. Even a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend cannot completely eliminate a risk for heart disease. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits, and smoking can counterbalance other healthy habits. Someone can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends getting cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if there is family history of heart disease. Every woman should keep an eye on her blood pressure — even if it is only during a routine check-up.
When it comes to heart disease and stroke, change can be the cure. To participate in Wear Red Day:
- Visit www.goredforwomen.org/wearredday for health materials to hand out to your family, friends and co-workers.
- Post photos of yourself and others wearing red on February 5th using #GoRedIL. You can post them to your social media feed, or to the American Heart Association Illinois Facebook page and/or Twitter feed.