HEART SMART TIPS, HEART DISEASE PREVENTION + RISK FACTORS
Your heart is your heart, and you have only one of them.
The heart. It’s the universal symbol associated with love and one of the most iconic images used for Valentine’s Day. But far more importantly, the heart is the very source of life, the organ that works so tirelessly in keeping the body functioning, the one that so often gets overlooked until something goes terribly wrong. But all too frequently, even the signs that should put us on high alert are misunderstood or dismissed, excused as a minor issue or “just a little bit of stress” as we—the strong, take-charge women that we are—go about our daily lives in hopes that if we don’t see it, it’s not there. Especially when those warning signs and red flags don’t follow the neat little checklist so regularly drilled into our heads: Is there pain on the left side? Tingling in the arm, shortness of breath? Is there heaviness in the chest?
No? Well, then. It’s not following the rules, so no need to make a fuss, right?
Wrong. According to the American Heart Association, some of the most important warning signs are often swept aside, marginalized, and even misdiagnosed simply because they don’t fall within the preconceived expectations of symptoms most commonly associated with heart disease. But research shows that heart attacks in women present themselves in ways unlike those in men, and people who have led healthy and fit lifestyles generally tend to assume that they are immune to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, their heart might fail them. Not even age is a factor in determining who is at risk, as younger and younger women experience heart attacks and succumb to other forms of cardiac disease.
True, the commonly known “calling card” symptoms are certainly cause for concern, but there are also a few others you might not have been aware of. In fact, according to the AHA, many women suffering a heart attack heart experience symptoms including:
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, the neck, the jaw, or the stomach
Shortness of breath—with or without chest discomfort
Breaking out in a cold sweat
Nausea and/or vomiting and dizziness or lightheadedness
Unfortunately, our widespread assumptions are often the biggest reasons that heart conditions have become such an issue, and women are one of the greatest victims. According to research offered by the AHA, one in three women die annually of heart disease and stroke. That equates to approximately one woman–Every. Single. Minute.
That’s a very scary statistic to consider, which is precisely why Go Red for Women was begun in 2004. Facing such staggering numbers and seeing little efforts to make women more aware of their own risk, the AHA took on the challenge and established the Go Red initiative, creating a widespread movement that would ultimately be used to empower women to take charge of their heart health. “Go Red For Women empowers women, sisters, and friends to take control of their health and know their numbers,” says Kristin Palmer, Go Red for Women ambassador and Communications Director for American Heart Association in Nashville. “We encourage all women to make their own health a priority and to get their well-woman visit scheduled with their doctors to know their risk of heart disease and stroke. One in three of us will be affected, and our goal is to work together to change that.”
“Go Red For Women empowers women, sisters, and friends to take control of their health and know their numbers.”
- Kristin Palmer
With that in mind, Go Red sponsors National Wear Red Day on the first Friday of every February, kicking off American Heart Month and sending out an even more vocal call to arms as countless women wear the red dresses that have become so iconic to Go Red. Joining other women in wearing the logo or even attending special events where red dresses and red attire is the dress code, supporters are doing everything they can to help Go Red achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating the disease once and for all.
Unfortunately, we as women tend to put our own health last, as we put on the cape of a Superwoman who never shows signs of tiredness, never feels overwhelmed or stressed out. We do all, we see all, we know all. But when it comes to our health, we tend to put that piece of the puzzle aside and assume that we’ll feel better tomorrow, after a little bit of sleep…or a little bit of wine…or a good soak in the tub. Ah, if that were always the case.
But the reality of it is that your heart is your heart, and you have only one of them. There’s not a backup version you can plug in in its place, so it’s important to realize that even the subtlest of symptoms shouldn’t be dismissed. They really are legitimate cause for concern, as age, diet, lifestyle, even genetics all play huge roles in determining your risk factor—and even then, the risk factor you carry might be higher than you’d expect.
Join VIP Health & Beauty as we GO RED FOR WOMEN in 2019 by Wearing Red, Spreading the Word & Supporting the Cause.
National Wear Red Day®
Friday, February 1, 2019
On the first Friday of every February, which is designated as American Heart Month, the nation comes together, igniting a wave of red from coast to coast. Join us in bringing awareness by wearing red on this day.
Spread the Word
Use #GoRedForWomen and #GoRedVIP on social media to spread the word. Share articles about heart health, heart healthy recipes & even pictures of you and your family, friends and co-workers wearing red on February 1st. Be sure to tag @AmericanHeart and
@vipHBmag on Facebook.
Support the Cause
Your gift to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign will support lifesaving research, education & health impact initiatives for all women.
Donate to Go Red for Women through the VIP Health & Beauty fundraising page at www.viphbmag.com/go-red-for-women
For more information on heart disease and ways that you can donate to research, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org. To learn more about Go Red for Women, visit www.goredforwomen.org.