Learn About Heart Disease in Women for Wear Red Day!
February 3rd is National Wear Red Day, which aims to bring awareness to cardiovascular disease in women. Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t know to wear red today, though. What really matters is that you know about the dangers of heart disease in women — and we’re here to help!
Cardiovascular diseases are disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels. Cardiac arrest is the most obvious example, but other types of cardiovascular issues include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, and peripheral artery diseases. Strokes also fall under the cardiovascular category.
All genders suffer from cardiovascular diseases, but women face unique risks.
- Cardiovascular diseases kill 1 in 3 women every year. This is approximately one woman every 80 seconds.
- 44 million women in the United States are affected by cardiovascular diseases
- 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke
- Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men
- Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack
On Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women hope to get people talking about these very real dangers. By sharing statistics like these, and stories of women who have survived heart diseases, they believe more women will take preventative measures against cardiovascular diseases. This includes learning about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and other medical emergencies.
In women, the signs of a heart attack include:
- Uncomfortable pressure in the center of the chest. This feeling can last for a few minutes, or go away and then come back again
- Pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
Men and women both tend to experience chest pains or pressure during a heart attack, but women are more likely to experience breathing issues, nausea, and pain in the back or jaw. Since these symptoms are not always associated with a heart attack, women are more likely to put off going to the emergency room. Additionally, they are more likely to suffer from a doctor’s failure to diagnose, as their symptoms may be mistaken for the flu or other ailment. Failure to diagnose is a type of medical malpractice, and may lead to fatal delays in treatment.
Everyone should know the signs of a heart attack or other cardiovascular event. Since women’s heart issues are often ignored or overlooked, however, it is particularly important for women, their partners, and their friends and families to know about the risks and symptoms. By spreading awareness of these problems, Wear Red Day is saving lives.
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