02 February 2012

Whatever Friday {National Wear Red Day}

Today is National Wear Red Day, put on by Go Red for Women and the American Heart Association.

Heart Disease is the Number 1 killer of women. It kills 1 in 3 women each year. Women are dying from heart disease at the rate of 1 per minute.

Five years ago this May, I got a phone call from my dad. He was a wreck. My mom was in the hospital, about to undergo an angiogram. They ended up finding a blocked artery, which they were able to repair with a stent. She was home from the hospital the next day. Alive and (almost) as good as new.

My mom is alive today because she knew the signs of a heart attack.

She knew that the pain she was feeling while walking up a hill was NOT normal.

Her father died of a heart attack. Two of her brothers suffered major heart attacks, one of which was fatal. Another of her brothers has had a stroke, and he is alive and well today because the people he was with knew immediately what was happening and got him help.

She knew, because of all of that, to be careful. At the time of her incident, she was already under the care of a cardiologist. Just in case.

And for that, I will be eternally grateful. Because I still have my mom. Jordan still has her Grandma.

So many women aren't so lucky. A woman often has symptoms of heart attack or stroke and ignores them. Or they don't know the symptoms. We put everyone before ourselves. Our kids, our husbands. We make them doctors appoints, we nag our husbands to take their Lipitor. But we ignore signs of sickness in ourselves, because we're too busy.

I will be wearing red today to support Go Red for Women and the American Heart Association. I will re-read the signs of heart attack and stroke and I will share them with anyone who will listen.

Signs of a Heart Attack:
  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 pain or 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.
If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1...Get to a hospital right away.

Signs of Stroke and TIAs
  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. It’s very important to take immediate action. Research from the American Heart Association has shown that if given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

(Information from Go Red for Women)

Don't ignore the signs of heart attack and stroke. Know the signs.

Because "I'll do it later" may be too late.

(For more information on National Go Red Day, click here.)