Celebrities Go Red for Women

February 5, 2010 is Go Red for Women Day! Each year the American Heart Association, in partnership with national sponsors Macy’s and Merck, encourage men and women all over the country to wear red to raise awareness about heart disease in women. People can also buy special Go Red products from a variety of sponsors, proceeds of which go to heart health research.  A number of celebrities, including Jenny Garth, Marie Osmond, and Joy Behar have lent their “star power” to the event to build awareness. Click here to see a variety of videos in support of Go Red for Women Day.

Data show that one woman dies almost every minute from cardiovascular disease- the number 1 killer of women age 20 and over. In fact, cardiovascular disease kills more than 450,000 women a year, more than the next five causes of death combined, including cancer. Research has shown that 80% of heart attacks in women are preventable if women make the right choices for their hearts, such as changing their eating habits, getting regular exercise and managing their cholesterol and blood pressure.

Signs a heart attack may be happening:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs of discomfort. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than five minutes before calling 9-1-1 for help.

For more information about Go Red for Women visit their website at: http://www.goredforwomen.org/

Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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