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    February is American Heart Month

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | January 31st, 2016

    February is American Heart Month

    February is American Heart Month and this is a good time to educate ourselves about heart disease.

    • Heart disease in the number 1 killer in women, killing more women than all forms of cancer combined.
    • Women fear breast cancer almost twice as much as they fear a heart attack, yet each year more than 12 times as many women die of heart disease than of breast cancer.
    • Since 1984, more women died of heart disease than men.
    • Overall, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and stroke each year, however for women of color it is 1 in 2.

    The good news is that 80% of death due to heart disease and stroke can be prevented by education and action. This is where the GoRedForWomen campaign has been effective. GoRedForWomen stands for:

    GGet your numbers – we have talked about the importance of knowing your numbers on a previous blog – Know your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol,  hemoglobin A1C – You will need to know your numbers to take the GoRedForWomen heart check- up – you can share the results with your physician. If you do not know your numbers, schedule your annual well woman visit.

    OOwn your lifestyle – you have the ability to make positive changes in your life – stop smoking (call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)), losing weight (consider joining Weight Watchers) , exercising  and eating healthy (

    RRealize your risk – Heart disease affects 1 in 3 women, it can happen to any one of us – we need to understand the warning signs. For women:

    1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
    2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
    3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
    4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
    5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest painor discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

    CALL 911 and get to the hospital immediately

    For strokes- remember to think FAST:    F – Face drooping  A – Arms weakness  S – Speech difficulty        T – Time to call 911

    EEducate your family – Make healthy food choices for you and your family. Teach children the importance of staying active.

    DDon’t be silent – Tell every woman you know that heart disease is the number one killer in women. Remind your friends that February 5th is National Wear Red Day®.  Wear your red this coming Friday.

    For more information about heart disease, please visit:


    Heart disease: African-American and Hispanic Women (If you have a chance, please watch the video on this link)




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