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February is American Heart Month

February is American Heart MonthFebruary is American Heart Month, drawing attention to heart disease, America’s No. 1 killer, and the strides being taken through research and education to raise awareness of risk factors and to decrease death rates. Appropriately kicked off on National Wear Red Day (Feb. 7, 2014), the American Heart Association and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red that day.

February has been celebrated as American Heart Month since 1963 to urge Americans to join the battle against heart disease. A presidential proclamation pays tribute to the researchers, physicians, other public health education professionals as well as volunteers for their tireless efforts in preventing, treating, and researching heart disease. The observation also recognizes the critical importance of developing tools that will increase survival rates from heart attacks and cardiac arrest.

Consider These Statistics:
• Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women – mothers, sisters, daughters, friends – and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined.
• Heart disease causes one in three 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 and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen.
• While one in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, heart disease causes one in three deaths each year.
• Heart disease in women requires more attention, more research and swifter action.

• Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, yet only one in five American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
• Women comprise only 24 percent of participants in all heart-related studies.
• Women are less likely to call 9-1-1 for themselves when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack than they are for someone else.

National Wear Red Day
Friday, February 7, 2014 is National Wear Red Day, a national observance created by the American Heart Association. For 10 years, women have been fighting heart disease individually and together as part of the Go Red For Women movement. They have proudly worn red, shared stories of survival and begun to understand the truth about women’s hearts
and how heart disease can be prevented.

More than 627,000 women’s lives have been saved, but the fight is far from over. Men and women across the Kansas City metro are encouraged to show their support by wearing red on Feb. 7. The red dress and the color red are symbols for women and heart disease and the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement. www.GoRedForWomen.org

Recognize the RED FLAGS of a heart attack or stroke:
Common warning signs of heart attack in women include:
• Chest pain or uncomfortable chest pressure that lasts longer than a few minutes
• Arm discomfort (especially while under stress or during activity)
• Indigestion, abdominal pain or dizziness
• Cold sweats or shortness of breath (often without chest pain)
• Pain in the upper back, shoulders, between the shoulder blades, or in the neck or jaw
• Flu-like symptoms such as nausea or vomiting or unexplained fatigue or weakness

If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait. Call 9-1-1 immediately.

Spot a stroke F.A.S.T. with these warning signs:
F – Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
A – Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S – 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?
T – 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.

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