According to the American Heart Association, one in three women dies from heart disease each year and 45% of women over the age of 20 have some form of cardiovascular disease.
Wear Red for Women’s Health Day is a push to raise awareness and bring those numbers down.
Jupiter Medical Center cardiologist Morteza Tavakol says knowing the symptoms of heart attack and stroke is the first step. Signs of heart disease are different in women than in men.
“Often people feel like they have indigestion in their stomach acid, and they’re like, ‘Oh, that’s just heartburn.’ It’s a common mistake people make,” Tavakol said. “Or when they’re short of breath, they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m just out of shape, or when they’re feeling tired because they’re down, they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m just tired, I’m stressed.’
Tavakol says these deaths are preventable if women are on guard. He says it’s important to get check-ups if you notice shortness of breath, back and arm pain, or chest tightness. These are signs of a heart attack or stroke.
Also in February, all new babies at Jupiter Medical Center will wear red knitted boots to raise awareness, especially among new moms. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of new mothers.
“Women have so much to do – children, husband, own parents, other family things. Many women also work and juggle home – there is so much to do that they tend to ignore themselves and their own symptoms.”
AHA says diet and exercise help reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
“Nutritionally, the Mediterranean diet is the best for the heart,” Tavakol said. “The diet is high in oily fish, high in greens, olive oil, greens, high in nuts — less processed foods and fried foods.”
Also, adding 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if it’s low-intensity, is important for heart health.