In 2003, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute took action against a disease that was claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year – a disease that women weren’t paying attention to. A disease they truly believed, and many still believe to this day, affects more men than women.
Stemming from that action, National Wear Red Day was born. It’s held on the first Friday in February every year to raise awareness about heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women.
Today is National Wear Red Day, Feb. 3, 2017, and it will mark 15 years since the initial National Wear Red Day, which was first observed to bring national attention to the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women and to raise awareness of women’s heart health. And looking back on all we’ve accomplished, we’ve really made tremendous strides. They include:
Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change.
More than one-third of women has lost weight.
More than 50% of women have increased their exercise.
6 out of 10 women have changed their diets.
More than 40% of women have checked their cholesterol levels.
One-third of women has talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each day.
Death in women has decreased by more than 30 percent over the past 10 years.
But despite our progress, more work is crucial. 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year. But what’s more powerful? Millions of mothers, sisters, daughters and friends making a change.
HEART ATTACK WARNING SIGNS
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
STROKE WARNING SIGNS
SPOT A STROKE F.A.S.T.
– Face Drooping Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
– Arm Weakness Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
– Speech Difficulty Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
– Time to call 9-1-1 If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
CARDIAC ARREST WARNING SIGNS
– Loss of responsiveness
– No response to tapping on shoulders.
– No normal breathing
If these signs are present CALL 9-1-1 – Dial 9-1-1 Fast
Heart attack and stroke are life-and-death emergencies — every second count. If you see or have any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes they go away and return. If some occur, get help fast!
Today heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past. For example, clot-busting drugs can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So again, don’t delay — get help right away!
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.
Immediately call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent to you. 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, particular shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.
Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.
A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually only last a few minutes but, if left untreated, people who have TIAs have a high risk of stroke. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce the risk of a major stroke.
Beyond F.A.S.T. – Other Symptoms You Should Know
Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg
Sudden confusion or trouble understanding
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
Sudden severe headache with no known cause