According to the American Heart Association, “cardiovascular disease, claims nearly 500,000 women’s lives a year.” Most women are surprised by this statistic, as more emphasis has been placed on the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and not heart disease. In fact, one in 2.5 women will die of heart disease or stroke, compared with one in 30 from breast cancer. Cardiovascular disease has been traditionally considered a male health issue based on research data collected.
There are several reasons for the high fatality rate with women. Women may delay or avoid treatment because they are not experiencing “typical” symptoms such as chest pain that radiates to the shoulders, neck or arms. Instead, they may experience nausea, atypical chest pain, abdominal pain, or unexplained fatigue. Women usually have their heart attacks later in life and some diagnostic test results may not be as accurate.
This year marks the 11th year anniversary of the National Wear Red Day on February 7th.
The American Heart Association has achieved several accomplishments which include:
- 21 percent fewer women dying from heart disease
- 23 percent more women aware that it’s their No. 1 health threat
- Publishing of gender-specific results, established differences in symptoms and responses to medications, and women-specific guidelines for prevention and treatment
- Legislation to help end gender disparities
During February, the Health Department will be participating in the American Heart Association annual Red Dress Campaign. Women who come to the Health Department during clinic hours (T 3-5PM, W, Th, F 9-10:30 AM) will receive a red dress pin and information on cardiovascular disease. If you already have a red dress pin, please remember to wear it to show your support. For further information on the Red Dress Campaign and heart disease, please visit: www.americanheart.org.