Lifestyle

Go Red For Heart Month

The seventh annual Western Massachusetts Go Red For Women Luncheon will take place on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Mass.

Go Red For Heart Month - Lioness MagazineGet ready to see red in February. The American Heart Association, along with local companies and organizations will shine a red light on heart disease and stroke, raising awareness that 1 in 3 women die each year from cardiovascular diseases.

Throughout American Heart Month, organizations both locally and nationally will “go red” to help save lives from heart disease and stroke on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5th. Communities and employees will wear red to raise awareness and funds to support critical research and education for heart disease in women. Some organizations will offer heart healthy lunch and learn programs, organize healthy walks, offer healthier foods in vending machines or cafeterias while companies and residents might decorate or light their buildings in red.

“Hundreds of local businesses, hospitals, towns, schools in western Massachusetts are ready to Go Red to help raise awareness and funds to fight the number one killer of women – cardiovascular disease,” said Mary Ann Burns, American Heart Association regional communications director. “Every time women see people wearing red, or see a building with red lights, it should be a reminder to fight the number one killer—heart disease.”

Also taking place in February is the seventh annual Western Massachusetts Go Red For Women Luncheon. Over 300 men and women are expected to attend the event on Friday, Feb. 26 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Mass. Women from all walks of life are encouraged to attend the Go Red For Women Luncheon to learn how to take charge of their health to reduce their risk for heart disease.

Serving as chair of the Go Red For Women Luncheon is Andrea Shusko, Practice Manager at Pioneer Valley Cardiology.  Shusko will lead recruitment efforts of volunteers, survivors, and business leaders to help raise over $200,000.  Funds raised will go toward research and education to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular disease and stroke in Massachusetts.

The AHA’s Go Red For Women movement focuses on women’s heart health awareness in February because more women than men are dying from heart disease and stroke. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and women often delay seeking treatment, which can be a deadly mistake.

During a heart attack, women can experience symptoms much different than men. There might be pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Women might have shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort, or break out in a cold sweat, have nausea, jaw pain, or lightheadedness. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort.

If you experience any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away. Far too many women die because they fail to recognize the symptoms, don’t take them seriously or don’t get help fast enough.

The good news is that more than 80% of heart disease in women can be prevented by making simple lifestyle changes like eating healthier, quitting smoking and exercising 30 minutes daily. Women can get lifesaving information and tools for living at www.goredforwomen.org.

For more information on Wear Red Day or the Go Red For Women Luncheon, please call Traci Heath at 413-262-3223 or email traci.heath@heart.org.