During February, popular culture has everyone thinking about hearts and the color red.
That’s a good start, but the kind of hearts that should be on your mind reside in your chest, not on a greeting card.
The American Heart Association this month is sponsoring the national effort Go Red For Women, notably with the incentive of National Wear Red Day on Friday.
Wearing clothing of ruby, crimson, scarlet or any other shade of red can show your support for good heart health in women.
Medical professionals around Craig will be wearing red, including the nursing staff at The Memorial Hospital.
Registered Nurse Brooke Cape said the day of awareness is important as a way to keep women aware about the threat of heart disease.
“Women tend to be good about making other family members go to the hospital and get checked out, but they’re actually pretty bad at going themselves,” she said. “It’s important to get checked out.”
Cape, who has worked with cardiac patients in the past, said a woman experiencing a heart attack often will experience different symptoms than chest pain or a numbness in the left arm.
“They can have anything from what feels like heartburn to a jaw or tooth pain, or they even have it in the right arm,” she said.
Data from AHA show that nearly 500,000 women die from heart-related issues each year — almost one every minute — which accounts for one in three female deaths. Increasingly more women than men have been fatally impacted by heart disease each year since 1984.
Overall, heart disease has the highest fatality rate for women, more than all kinds of cancer combined.
Among the contributing factors for heart disease in women and men alike are heredity, insufficient exercise and poor diet, Cape said.
Those with family members affected by cardiac problems should be particularly vigilant about regular check-ups.
Stress is another big one, Cape said.
Although the idea of a broken heart is widely considered a figure of speech, broken heart syndrome — takotsubo cardiomyopathy — is a very real issue that can affect anyone and often is triggered by emotional stress such as a break-up or the death of a loved one. The heart’s myocardium can be weakened, which may lead to acute heart failure, ventricular ruptures or arrhythmias.
The AHA website, heart.org, offers several additional sites such as goredforwomen.org, complete with resources for women to determine their risk of heart disease, such as Go Red Heart CheckUp.
“The Go Red For Women movement works to make sure women know they are at risk so they can take action to protect their health,” the site reads.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.