February, the month of love, is the perfect time to ensure you and other women in your life love your hearts well.
Taking care of your heart is vital because heart disease is ranked the number one cause of death yearly in the U.S. for both men and women. However, women tend to ignore or put off early warning signs.
Some symptoms include:
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
In 1924, when the American Heart Association was founded, a part of their work has been to focus on educating the public about the risks of heart disease. Although heart disease can happen to anyone, some are at greater risk than others. Individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, diabetes, and other factors could see an increased risk for heart disease.
Beginning in 2004, the Go Red for Women campaign started in February. What began as an awareness program for women’s heart issues has evolved into an expanded movement to get women to commit to their overall health as well as heart health. Go Red for Women will be celebrated on Friday, February 3, this year with the wearing of red to bring women along in their commitment to their health.
Below are a few facts about women and cardiovascular disease provided by the American Heart Association:
- Cardiovascular disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined.
- Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of new moms and accounts for over one-third of maternal deaths. Black women have some of the highest maternal mortality rates.
- Most cardiac and stroke events can be prevented through education and lifestyle changes, such as moving more, eating smart, and managing blood pressure.
- 51.9 percent of high blood pressure deaths, otherwise known as hypertension or the “silent killer,” are in women.
- Out of all women, 57.6 percent of Black females have hypertension — more than any other race or ethnicity.
- While an estimated 4.1 million female stroke survivors live today, approximately 57.5 percent of stroke deaths are in women.
- Only 38 percent of participants in clinical cardiovascular trials are women.
So this Valentine’s Day, celebrate the women in your life by helping them understand the importance of taking care of themselves as much as they take care of everyone else.