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Examiner
  • Lori Boyajian-O'Neill: Heart disease is women's biggest health threat

  • “Go Red for Women” is a year round initiative of the American Heart Association to increase awareness of heart disease and promote heart healthy lifestyles. February is Heart Awareness Month and a showcase for AHA’s Go Red program.

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  • “Go Red for Women” is a year round initiative of the American Heart Association to increase awareness of heart disease and promote heart healthy lifestyles. February is Heart Awareness Month and a showcase for AHA’s Go Red program. 
    Heart disease and women; what do you know?
    True or false?
    1. More women die from breast cancer than heart disease annually.
    2. 1 in 3 women die from heart disease annually.
    3. Every 5 minutes a woman dies from heart disease.
    Breast cancer is the most feared condition but although 1 in 31 women die from this dreaded disease, it is not the most deadly. AHA (www.heart.org) reports heart disease accounts for more deaths among women than all cancers combined. It is the number one killer of women in the United States and accounts for one-third of all deaths among women. Every minute a woman dies from heart disease and the rate of death from heart disease among women has been rising since 1984. 
    AHA developed the Go Red program to get the attention of women and heighten knowledge about risk and recognition of heart disease.   A part of the education program is to get women to understand that they are at risk, even if they do not think so. Ninety per cent of all adult women have at least one risk factor for heart disease but only 1 in 5 women believe it is her greatest threat to health. Do you know your risk factors? 
    It is important to know your family history and your personal numbers – weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol and lipid levels, to understand your risk. The most significant risk factors for heart disease is having a family member, parent or sibling, with heart disease,smoking and sedentary lifestyle. 
    Some risk factors are based on race and ethnicity. It is estimated that a stunning 49 percent of African Americans older than age 20 have heart diseases but only 1 in 5 believes she is at risk. On average Hispanic women develop heart disease about 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics and only 1 in 3 are aware it is their number one killer.
    Women often do not have the same signs of heart attack as men. The typical description of a heart attack in men, chest pain radiating to the left arm, is not typical for women. Often women experience signs and symptoms that are different and less obvious such as nausea, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, upper back and arm discomfort without chest pain. They may attribute their symptoms to viral infection, indigestion or fatigue and delay seeking life-saving medical care.
    The greatest threat to American women is ignorance. As more women learn about their risk and heart healthy lifestyles through programs such as Go Red, the greater the chance for prevention and early detection. Contact AHA for more information about Go Red at www.goredforwomen.org. Invite your sister and your best friend to do the same.
    Page 2 of 2 - Spread the news.
    Answer:  1. F  2.T   3. F
    Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill can be contacted at lori.boyajian-oneill@hcahealthcare.com.
     
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