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National Wear Red Day raising awareness for heart disease in women

45% of women older than 20 have some form of cardiovascular disease
Posted at 6:09 AM, Feb 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-04 08:49:27-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — One in three women die each year from heart disease and 45% of women older than 20 have some form of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Wear Red for Women's Health Day is a push to raise awareness and bring those numbers down.

Jupiter Medical Center Cardiologist Morteza Tavakol said knowing the symptoms of heart attack and stroke is the first step. Signs of heart disease are different in women than men.

"A lot of times people can feel like it's indigestion they're having in their stomach acids and they think, 'Oh, it's just heartburn.' That's a common mistake people make," Tavakol said. "Or if they're having shortness of breath, they think, 'Oh, I'm just out of shape.' Or if they're feeling fatigued, being run down, they say, 'Oh, I'm just tired. I'm stressed out.'"

Tavakol said these deaths can be avoidable if women are on the lookout.  He said its important to go in for check ups if you notice shortness of breath, back and arm pain, of squeezing in your chest. These are signs of a heart attack or stroke.

Also in February, all new babies at Jupiter Medical Center will be wearing red knitted boots to help bring awareness, specifically to new moms. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of new moms.

"There's so much women have on their plate — kids, husband, own parents, other things in the family," Tavakol said. "A lot of women also work and juggle home. There's so much that's on their plate that they tend to ignore themselves and their own symptoms."

The American Heart Association says diet and exercise help decrease the chance of developing heart disease.

"Diet-wise, the Mediterranean type of diet is the best for the heart," Tavakol said. "The diet has a lot of fatty fish in it — a lot of greens, olive oil, vegetables, a lot of nuts, less processed foods and fried foods."

Also, adding in 30 minutes of exercise a day, even if its low intensity, is important for heart health.