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Go Red for Heart Disease Awareness

Health-Heart2SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (wggb)– Today was National Go Red Day, a day to raise awareness for heart disease in women. Sharon Smith had a heart attack just 10 weeks ago, which is hard to believe because she looks to be the picture of health. Although she had a family history she thought she was fine.

“I did have high blood pressure, so i was on medication for that and it was keeping it under control. I felt like I was doing things sort of right,” said Sharon.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women. Every year more women die from cardiovascular disease than all forms of cancer combined, including breast cancer and cervical cancer. That’s why it’s so important for women to be able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack which may not include the traditional chest pains.

Dr. Jaya Mallidi a Baystate Cardiovascular Fellow explained,”it is very different with women and that is why it is so difficult for both the patients to identify their symptoms and also for the physicians to recognize that the women may be having a heart attack.”

Symptoms women may experience can include dizziness, nausea, vomiting  fatigue, jaw and arm pain and even abdominal discomfort. Dr. Mallidi also said that women are more likely to ignore their symptoms, because they are too mild or they don’t recognize them as symptoms of a heart attack. Sharon says that’s what happened to her.

“After the heart attack I could look back and I had warnings for at least three months. Little signs here and there, some tingling some heart palpitations, things that I made excuses for,” she said.

The best way to prevent heart disease is to maintain a heart healthy lifestyle by not smoking, eating a proper diet, regular exercise and routine visits to the doctor. Sharon also encourages other women who might be at risk to pay attention to their bodies and not ignore it if they feel something might be wrong. Advice that could save a woman’s life.

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