Go Red for Women is a
national movement formed by the American Heart Association in 2004 that is
designed to empower women to take chart of their heart health. It challenges
women to know their risk for heart disease and to take action to reduce their
personal risk. Great strides have been made in the past 10 years, as 21 percent
fewer women are dying from heart disease and 23 percent more women are aware
that it is their number one health threat.
Cardiac arrest, or
heart attack, occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked by a
buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries. In other words, the heart muscle is
starving for oxygen and other important nutrients that are carried in blood. Heart
disease is a major threat to both women and men. However, it does not affect
all people alike, and the warning signs are different for women than they are
So what can you do to
improve your heart health? The first step is to know your risk. Some risk factors for heart disease include
high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and
inactivity. It is important to “know your numbers,” which means that you should
know your normal blood pressure, cholesterol level, and waist size. By
detecting increases in these numbers early, you can make the changes necessary
before you put yourself in danger. In addition to knowing your numbers, there
are a few more things you can do to improve your heart health: exercise regularly, eat a nutritious diet low
in fat and cholesterol, avoid processed foods, quit smoking, and reduce stress
in your life.
Another way to
protect yourself is to know the symptoms of a heart attack:
- uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the
center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes
pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw,
- shortness of breath
- cold sweat
The most common heart attack symptom in
both men and women is chest pain or discomfort.
However, women are more likely to experience the other common symptoms,
especially shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
What should you do if
you suspect you are having a heart attack? Do not wait to call for help. Dial 9-1-1 immediately, and get to a hospital
right away. If at all possible, have someone else drive you to the hospital.
Finally, try to stay calm and take deep, slow breaths while you wait for
Use American Heart
Month as your motivation to get started on your journey to health and
happiness. As the American Heart Association will tell you, it is time to Go
Red. For more information, contact health services at ext. 3806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.