NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Heart Disease is the number one killer of women. That is the message behind the “Go Red For Women” campaign. February is heart health month and New Haven held its first Go Red For Women kick off event on Tuesday, February 21st. A night designed to increase awareness about heart disease and stroke and to help raise funds for the American Heart Association.
I had the honor of hosting the inaugural event. The room at the New Haven Lawn Club was decked out in red and many of those in attendance wore red as well. Red is a power color and a reminder that we have the power to control heart disease. Women can reduce their risk of heart disease by 85 percent just by exercising, watching their weight, stressing less and sleeping more. One in three women will die from heart disease and 64 percent of the time there are no warning symptoms which reinforces the importance of taking care of ourselves and our health.
The focus of the night was to make sure that all women know the warning signs of heart disease. The American Heart Disease says the symptoms for women include nausea, lightheartedness, shortness of breath, back or jaw pain, pain in an arm and sweating. Dr. Sasanka Jayasuriya is a professor at Yale University and care for patients at Yale New Haven Hospital. She says that women often feel those symptoms but go on with their busy lives waiting to get that much needed life saving treatment.
“The most important thing with women is that we have unusual symptoms about one third of the time when we have a heart attack. Women don’t have chest pain or pressure bu they can have back pain, sweating, shortness of breath and a myriad of other symptoms which they can just disregard and go on with their everyday activities,” said Dr. Jayasuriya.
Dr. Jayasuriya encouraged all women to call 911 if they even suspect they are having a heart attack because time is muscle and as you wait your heart is dying.
Someone who knows that all too well, a 47-year-old single mother from Milford, Laura Terranova. She is a heart disease survivor. Terranova told the audience she thought she was suffering from the flu.
“When I got the headache, or shortness of breath or was dizzy, I just kept equating it to I needed fluids, I needed to rest. It was just the flu. So it wasn’t until I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow that I knew something had to be more wrong,” said Terranova.
Laura had eight surgeries in two and half months, three of which were open heart surgeries. She is grateful her father dialed 911 because it was a call that saved her life.
The evening was educational and inspirational with the goal of sharing the all important warning signs of a heart attack with all the women in your life that you love. So often women take care of all of those around them at the expense of ignoring their own health. The night was a reminder that all women must take care of their heart health by getting an annual heart screening with your Doctor so they can be around to live their lives to the fullest.
Everyone was encouraged to spread awareness of women’s heart health by using the hashtag #GoRedCT. A message that can save lives.