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Show unity in women’s fight against heart disease

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POSTED January 30, 2013 3:40 p.m.

The 10th annual National Wear Red Day is fast approaching. To show support for the ‘Go Red’ movement, women across the country are asked to wear red on Friday, Feb. 1. Go Red by wearing red, raises funds for research and shows the unity of women in their fight against heart disease.

The American Heart Association (AHA) has done research, prevention and treatment of heart disease, providing solutions for people of all ages. They also work closely every year with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies to collect the most up-to-date statistics on heart disease, stroke and other vascular diseases.

Listed below are some of the latest general statistics according to the website:

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.

Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute.

An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.

Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.

The symptoms of heart disease can be different in women and men, and are often misunderstood.

While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease.

Only 1 in 5 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.

Women comprise only 24 percent of participants in all heart-related studies.

According to the AHA, there are several steps that you can take to prevent heart disease. If women make healthy changes in their lives they can reduce their risk for heart disease as much as 80 percent. Some of the preventative measures the AHA suggests is participating in physical activity like walking, swimming, jogging, bicycling, or any other activity for at least 40 minutes most days of the week. They also suggest eating fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole-grains, and fish, which are all considered heart healthy foods. Cutting back on saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and added sugars to improve your heart health is also suggested. Check your body mass index (BMI). The BMI is a good indicator of whether you are at a healthy weight or not. Quitting smoking greatly reduces the chances of heart disease as well.

The notion that men and women have the same heart attack symptoms, the AHA reported, is a myth. The reality is that 64 percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms.

Along with watching what you eat and trying to get in a little more physical activity, there’s more you can do to still help the cause. Scheduled locally is a ‘Go Red Luncheon’ on April 26, 2013 at the University of the Pacific, University Center in Stockton. The luncheon will feature a health and beauty expo from 10 a.m. to noon with a variety of vendors. The lunch will follow the expo starting at noon and ending at 1:30 p.m. For questions or to purchase tickets, call Ruby Maciel at (209) 477-2683 or email ruby.maciel@heart .org.

Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties also hast a heart walk that you can participate in. There is no charge to attend a walk but funds raised are appreciated. Participants that raise $100 in donations get a Heart Walk T-shirt. Anyone interested can register through the appropriate website.

San Joaquin Heart Walk is Sept. 7 at the University of the Pacific and begins at 9 a.m. Registration is available at 

Stanislaus Heart Walk is Sept. 28 at Modesto Junior College and begins at 9 a.m. Registration is available at

The AHA has also listed some heart attack and stroke warning signs on their website.

Heart Attack warning signs:

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 with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Stroke Warning signs:

Remember F.A.S.T. to help you spot warning signs of a stroke.

Face Drooping — Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness — Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty   Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 9-1-1 — If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.

For more information, call the American Heart Association at (209) 477-2683 for San Joaquin County, or (209) 529-4642 for Stanislaus County, or visit the websites:, or

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