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Wearing red raises awareness of heart disease among women

January 30, 2023

People around the country and in the Southern Tier will don something red on Friday, Feb. 3, to call attention to heart disease among women, as the nation observes “Wear Red Day,” part of the “Go Red for Women” awareness campaign.

UHS will join with the American Heart Association to mark the event, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony starting at 10 a.m. in the main lobby of UHS Vestal.  Red sweaters, dresses, scarves and ties will be in abundance.

The public is welcome to attend.

Although, in years past, heart disease was sometimes thought of as “a man’s disease,” we now know that almost as many women as men die each year of heart disease in the United States. 

Despite increases in awareness over the past decades, only about 56 percent of women recognize that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.  It is responsible for about one in every five female deaths.  About one in 16 women age 20 and older have coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease.

Much of heart disease can be prevented.  It’s important for every woman to take these important steps: 

  1. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional to learn your risk for heart disease,
  2. Quit smoking;  just one year after you quit, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent,
  3. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging), or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week,
  4. It’s also good to include moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weight training) at least twice a week.  Naturally you must consult your provider first before starting any exercise program, and
  5. Modify your family’s diet if needed—today it is easy to find smart substitutions, healthy snacking ideas and better prep methods.

If you do have any kind of heart symptoms, it’s important to act quickly.  Call 911 and get to an Emergency Department right away if you experience:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest, especially if 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 may experience those other symptoms instead.

Good heart health begins with a rising awareness of your risks and ensuring that you get the right diagnosis and follow the right treatment plan.  Never look the other way when symptoms present themselves.  Seek care immediately.  Wear Red Day is one of the most useful and valuable events for increasing heart-health awareness among women across the country.  The American Heart Association and UHS are pleased to keep the day an important observance every year.

To learn more about UHS Heart and Vascular services, click here.