People & Places: Wear Red Friday to support women's hearts
BY DANNA SUE WALKER World Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 4:40 AM
Plan to wear red Friday as part of the American Heart Association's celebration of its 10th anniversary of the Go Red For Women movement.
You can take part in National Wear Red Day by wearing a red dress, red tie, red sweater or red jacket.
The American Heart Association is supporting legislation this year to require CPR for high school graduation. Knowing CPR means knowing how to save lives.
On Wear Red Day, the AHA is looking for 100 people to send letters to their legislators supporting CPR in schools. To find out who your legislator is and send letters to senators and representatives, go to tulsaworld.com/yourethecure
While Go Red has educated thousands of women about their risk of heart disease, many misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the myths and facts, courtesy of the American Heart Association.
Myth: Heart disease is for men, and cancer is the real threat for women.
Fact: Heart disease is a killer that strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease claims the lives of one in three. That's roughly one death each minute.
Myth: Heart disease is for old people.
Fact: Heart disease affects women of all ages. For younger women, the combination of birth control pills and smoking boosts heart disease risks by 20 percent. And while the risks do increase with age, things like overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can cause plaque to accumulate and lead to clogged arteries later in life. But even if you lead a healthy lifestyle, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.
Myth: Heart disease doesn't affect women who are fit.
Fact: Even if you're a yoga-loving, marathon-running workout fiend, your risk for heart disease isn't completely eliminated. Factors like cholesterol, eating habits and smoking can counterbalance your other healthy habits. You can be thin and have high cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends you start getting your cholesterol checked at age 20, or earlier, if your family has a history of heart disease. And while you're at it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood pressure at your next check-up.
Myth: I don't have any symptoms.
Fact: Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. Because these symptoms vary greatly between men and women, they're often misunderstood. The movies have conditioned us to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain. But in reality, women are somewhat more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. Other symptoms women should look out for are dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.
Myth: Heart disease runs in my family, so there's nothing I can do about it.
Fact: Although women with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, there's plenty you can do to reduce it. Simply create an action plan based on tips at tulsaworld.com/gored
Because of healthy choices and knowing the signs, more than 627,000 of women have been saved from heart disease, and 330 fewer are dying per day.
Go Red For Women is nationally sponsored by Macy's and Merck & Co., Inc.
Local sponsors include Oklahoma Heart Institute, Bank of Oklahoma, Osage Casino, St. John Health System, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, T.D. Williamson, Oklahoma Beef Council, George Kaiser Family Foundation, Senior Star, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, Morgan Stanley Tulsa Branch, River Spirit Casino, Magellan, WPX Energy, People's Bank and Osteopathic Founders Foundation.
Original Print Headline: Wear Red Day for women's hearts
Gov. Mary Fallin speaks at last year's American Heart Association's Go Red for Women luncheon. Friday is National Wear Red Day as the American Heart Association celebrates its 10th anniversary of the Go Red For Women movement. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World file