February 5, 2014 at 8:00 AM
FANWOOD, NJ - Mayor Colleen Mahr will light up Fanwood Borough Hall in red on Friday, Feb. 7 to support the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day to raise awareness of women’s cardiac health.
Heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of women in America, but it often is preventable. Yet, only 20 percent of women believe heart disease is their greatest health threat.
“We want to empower women to reduce their risk of heart attack,” Mahr said. “Our Borough Hall will glow bright red on February 7 as we spread the word that women need to make their health a top priority, and that includes fighting cardiovascular disease.”
“Women need to be educated about risk factors and the signs and symptoms of heart attack,” said Patty Buckridee, captain of the Fanwood Rescue Squad and a heart attack survivor. “As EMTs, we are taught to look for specific symptoms in women, but that knowledge is available to everyone.”
The American Heart Association identifies these heart attack signs common in women:
1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. 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 are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
“If you have any of these signs, don’t wait before calling for help,” said Patty. “Call 911 right away.”
Fanwood Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell, a registered nurse, says women need to work just as hard as men to minimize their risk for heart attack.
“Denial is a killer,” Mitchell said. “Once women accept they are at the same risk for heart disease as men, they can make the appropriate lifestyle changes including stopping smoking, exercising and eating healthier. Getting regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks are also good preventative measures.”
More information about women’s cardiac health can be found at www.goredforwomen.org.