It’s hard to believe that February is right around the corner. As everyone knows, February 14th is Valentines Day, but did you know that Go Red For Women day is on February 1st, and this American Heart Association initiative is to raise awareness about heart disease in women. Heart Disease is the Number One cause of death for both men and women, and this is why I try to educate my patients on the risk factors for heart disease and signs/symptoms of a possible heart attack.
Some Risk Factors For Heart Disease:
Tobacco Use: These days, this not only includes cigarette use, but also vaping nicotine. In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke raises your risk for heart disease and heart attack.
High Blood Pressure & Elevated Cholesterol: With regard to blood pressure, all levels above 120/80 raise your risk for heart disease. Both children and adults are more likely to develop high blood pressure if they’re overweight or have diabetes. With regard to cholesterol, talk with your Family Doctor about having your cholesterol tested and what the results mean. Routine blood tests can show whether your blood cholesterol levels are healthy.
Unhealthy Diet: Foods that are high in saturated and Trans fats and cholesterol increase the “bad” cholesterol in your system. In addition, a high salt diet can raise your risk of high blood pressure. Added sugars can raise your chance of diabetes and obesity.
Lack of Physical Activity & Obesity: Inactive people are nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease as those who are active. Especially with children and teens, it’s important to limit screen time and to encourage more physical activity.
Cold Weather: Even though it’s not a major risk factor, especially those already with heart disease, if your’re involved in cold weather activities (like shoveling snow), it’s very important to listen to your body if you have any of the following signs or symptoms below.
Signs and Symptoms of Possible Heart Attack:
Chest Pressure of Pain
Pain in Arms, Neck, or Jaw
Difficulty with Breathing
Breaking out in Cold Sweat & Nausea
As I tell all of my patients, it is important to know your risk factors for heart disease and to work with your Family Doctor in taking steps like changing your lifestyle to improve your blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. In addition, it’s very important to know signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke. If you start to have any of those symptoms, it is very important to call 911 and/or to go the ER immediately.
Addendum: Thanks to WKBN for including me in their story on their website. Also check out and click on, “Salem Doctor raises awareness for Go Red For Women Day.”