Public Health Nurse Calendar

February is American Heart Month

 This Friday, February 3, 2017 will be the 15th anniversary of the observance of National Wear Red Day®, held on the first Friday in February to bring national attention to the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women, and to raise awareness of women’s heart health.   

National Wear Red Day® was founded in 2003 by the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to take action against a disease that was claiming the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year – and address women’s lack of attention and awareness of their risk of heart disease.  Many women still feel that heart disease affects more men than women and are either unaware of the symptoms or not paying attention to them or may attribute their symptoms as due to other causes.

Here are some facts from the American Heart Association on cardiovascular disease and women:

  • 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 and stroke claims the lives of one in three women, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.   
    • An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
    • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
    • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
    • 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education
    • Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
    • Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease 10 years earlier than Caucasian women.
    • Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for Hispanic women, killing nearly 21,000 annually.
    • Only 34% of Hispanic women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.
    • Hispanic women are least likely to have a usual source of health medical care and only 1 in 8 say that their doctor has ever discussed their risk for heart disease.
    • Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women, killing over 48,000 annually.
    • Only 36% of African American women  know that heart disease is their greatest health risk.
    • Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 48.3% have cardiovascular disease. Yet, only 14% believe that cardiovascular disease is their greatest health problem.
    • Only about 50% of African-American women are aware of the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
    • The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians. 

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. Even though the risks of heart disease increase with age, overeating and a sedentary lifestyle can cause plaque to accumulate and lead to clogged arteries later in life. Even if women lead healthy lifestyles, being born with an underlying heart condition can be a risk factor.  The risk for heart disease among women who are physically fit isn’t completely eliminated as well.  Even though a woman is thin, high cholesterol, poor eating habits and smoking can counterbalance their state of physical fitness.

Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms and symptoms vary greatly between men and women.   Most individuals are conditioned to believe that the telltale sign of a heart attack is extreme chest pain.  However, women who are experiencing a heart attack are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, back or jaw pain.  Women should also be aware of dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen and extreme fatigue.  Women as well as men should talk to their health care provider to discuss their personal risk for heart disease and stroke.

Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day. Here are a few lifestyle changes that should be made:


Many fun and educational activities are scheduled throughout the year.

Edgewater Alliance Activities


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Alliance meetings are open to all members of the public and are held on the 3rd Wednesday of every other month at 6 p.m. (unless otherwise indicated). Meetings are held in the Community Center at 1167 River Road.

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