Today is National Wear Red Day – a campaign promoted by the American Heart Association to raise awareness of Women’s heart disease. Though many consider heart disease a men’s issue, doctors frequently don’t even recognize the symptoms in women, which are different than the more drastic male warning signs. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death of women 65 and older and the third-leading cause of death for women 25-44.
Women are susceptible to the traditional risk factors – high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity – but their hearts are also far more affected by mental stress and depression, smoking and metabolic syndromes. Low levels of estrogen after menopause also pose a risk.
Female symptoms are often more subtle than the crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. Women tend to have small vessel hear disease, rather than just blockages in the main arteries.
- Neck, shoulder, upper back and abdominal discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Unusual fatigue
And today, wear red.