Did you know that February is Heart Month? Appropriate with Valentine’s Day being tomorrow….
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women and men in the United States. However, its effect on women is inherently different from that of men. According to the American Health Association (AHA), an estimated 43 million women in the U.S. alone are affected by heart disease. It is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute!
Many women do not realize they have heart disease and are even more unaware of the symptoms of a heart attack, often writing off their pain as either stress or a virus. Here are some warning signs 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 back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
If you or someone you know and love experiences these types of symptoms, get help by calling 9-1-1. This is not a time to delay; time is of the essence with a heart attack – it literally is a life or death situation.
The key in battling heart disease in both women and men is prevention! Annual visits to your doctor, eating healthy, regular exercise and being aware of your own body language will let you know when something is wrong.
Education about heart health at any age is important. Throughout this entire month my son’s elementary school is focusing on the heart during health class. He’s been learning about heart health as well as the benefits of regular physical activity and good nutrition.
He’s also participating in the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope For Heart event. He is not only excited to be jumping around, but also that he is helping to raise money for kids with, as he told me, “hearts that don’t work exactly right” and to fund new medicines and treatments to be discovered. I love that my son does events like this, it’s a great way to teach them about community service – how it can be fun to help others – while learning about heart health!
Now it’s your turn to share. Who does your heart belong to this Valentine’s Day?
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