Show Your Support for Women and Heart Disease - Wear Red!

February is American Heart Month. On the first Friday of February every year, people across the nation join together and wear red to show their support for women and the fight against heart disease. Heart disease which includes heart attacks and strokes is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States.

A heart attack strikes someone about once every 43 seconds! Prevention starts with everyone. Know your risks and take steps now to make small lifestyle changes that can improve your heart health. These can include: quitting smoking, knowing what your blood pressure is and controlling it if it’s high, reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, reducing your alcohol intake, losing extra weight or maintaining a healthy weight, exercising 30 minutes a day on most days of the week, finding ways to manage stress, eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, and low in sodium and trans fat, and following your doctor’s directions if you are on any medicine.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. The best thing to do is to immediately call 9-1-1 so an ambulance can be sent for you. As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Other symptoms can include shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Women can experience somewhat different symptoms than men too. Sometimes they only have stomach discomfort and think it may just be indigestion.

You should also know how to spot a stroke FAST. 

F= facial drooping. Ask the person to smile. Look for a crooked smile or facial drooping on one side.

A= arm weakness. Ask the person to raise both arms above their head. Check to see if they have weakness more on one side than the other.

S=speech difficulty. Hard to understand or produce speech.

T=time to call 911. If the person you are with shows any of the signs above, don’t hesitate to call 911 for emergency assistance.

Other signs that a person could be having a stroke can include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination; sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Be aware! Learn the signs, but remember that even if you're not sure if it's a heart attack or stroke, have it checked out by a doctor anyway. Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own or someone you love. 

Join in the fight against heart disease. Choose to wear red on Friday, February 1st. Encourage your friends, relatives, and co-workers to do the same. Help raise awareness of heart disease.

For more information, contact Four Corners Health Department @ (877) 337-3573 or locally @ (402) 362-2621. You can also visit their website @ www.fourcorners.ne.gov.