Attention, ladies: The American Heart Association wants to see you this weekend, Sat., Feb. 4, at the Woodfield Mall Macy’s, 1200 Meacham Rd., Schaumburg. The organization is hosting a “Go Red CONNECT” event, in an effort to create a network of women affected by heart disease. Organizers will consider participants for the national Go Red for Women campaign, featuring real women.
Weiss Director of Cardiac Services Lori Shepard encourages women to attend the event. “Heart disease is the number one killer of women. More women die from heart disease than any other cause of death, including cancer,” she says.
At the event, women can share their personal stories of heart disease—either how they have experienced it through a loved one or survived it themselves. They can also connect with others and learn preventative measures.
There are a handful of key things women can do to prevent heart disease, Shepard says. They include:
- Give up smoking (if you smoke)
- Choose a healthy diet
- Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked and lower them if elevated
- Be physically active
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit alcohol
“Unfortunately, the killer isn’t easy to see. Heart disease is often silent, hidden and misunderstood,” according to the American Heart Association.
Because the disease can be silent, women need to pay close attention to any warning signs. “Same as with men, chest pressure is the most common,” Shepard says. She lists other symptoms as:
- Chest pain or pressure lasting more than a few minutes
- Pain in one or both arms, back or jaw
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
If a woman suspects she is having a heart attack, Shepard says to “call 911—get to a hospital right away.”
Many doctors recognize a 60-minute golden hour with heart attacks. “The reason we emphasize that patients should seek help as soon as they can is because there’s a time limit,” says Khalid Malik, M.D., medical director of the Weiss Emergency Department. “The sooner you get to the hospital, the better off you are and the better the prognosis is going to be.”
Learn more about the Schaumburg Go Red CONNECT.