Archive for Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Campaign aims to boost women’s heart health

December 27, 2006


Q: Do you know anything about the Go Red for Women campaign?

A: Go Red for Women is a national campaign of the American Heart Association seeking action from women to protect their heart health. Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women. In fact, more than a half-million women in the U.S. die every year from these diseases. That is more than the next six causes of death combined.

According to the American Heart Association, women tend to ignore the onset of symptoms of heart disease because they don't recognize them as heart attack symptoms. As a result, an estimated 45 percent of heart attacks go unnoticed or unreported.

Thirty-three percent of women having a heart attack report "atypical" symptoms:

¢ unexplained exhaustion, fatigue, weakness

¢ discomfort in upper shoulder blades in back

¢ indigestion

¢ swelling of legs/ankles

¢ chest discomfort: full feeling, pressure, tingling, squeezing

¢ unexplained shortness of breath

¢ full feeling in neck, or discomfort in jaw, ear, teeth with exertion

¢ discomfort in one or both arms

¢ heart palpitations, cold sweat

¢ nausea/dizziness

Women are more likely to have angina-like symptoms as their first indication of heart disease, where a man's first indication is more likely to be a heart attack. Angina is the pain/discomfort felt when the heart muscle is not getting the blood supply and oxygen it needs due to blocked blood flow caused by plaque build-up or vessel spasm in the coronary arteries.

Everyone (men, too) can support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red on Feb. 2 - National Wear Red Day.

It's a simple, powerful way to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke.

In addition, the American Heart Association, along with national partners Macy's and Pfizer, and local partner Lawrence Memorial Hospital, are working together to empower and educate Lawrence women about their risk of heart disease and stroke and the easy steps they can take to help prevent these diseases. The association's Go Red for Women luncheon will be from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Lawrence Holidome. The event will give women the opportunity to attend an educational session about how they can start being heart-healthy for themselves and their families. Women also will have the opportunity to see the latest fashions with a red-dress fashion show, courtesy of Weaver's Department Store. The special note about this fashion show is the models are survivors or relatives of loved ones that suffered heart disease or stroke. Dr. Michelle Dew will be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $50 each. For more information, call (913) 648-6727.

The first of the New Year is a perfect time to "love your heart".

Here are six ways to reduce your risk for heart disease:

¢ Start with a checkup. Let each birthday (or another special day) remind you that it's time for your yearly checkup and a talk with your doctor about how you can reduce your risk for heart disease.

¢ Get off the couch. Step, march or jog in place for at least 30 minutes most days of the week - you can even do it while watching TV.

¢ Limit foods and beverages that are high in calories but low in nutrients, and limit how much saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol you eat. To get the nutrients you need, choose foods like vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products and fat-free or low-fat dairy products most often.

¢ Quit smoking in four steps. Can't go "cold turkey"? Cut the number of cigarettes you smoke each day in half; then cut that number in half; cut it in half again; finally, cut down to zero.

¢ Drop a pound or two. Cutting out just 200 to 300 calories a day - about one candy bar's worth - can help you lose up to 2 pounds per week and gradually bring you closer to a heart-healthy weight.

¢ Become a salt detective. Check out the nutrition facts panel on packaged foods to see how much sodium they contain. Aim for a total intake of no more than 2,300 milligrams (about a teaspoon of salt) per day.

Here's a heart-healthy pasta dish that you may want to try soon after the first of the year:

1 pound large shrimp, deveined

Zesty shrimp and pasta

3/4 cup prepared fat-free Italian salad dressing packet

2 cups mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and halved

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

9 ounces whole-wheat pasta, cooked

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook shrimp with 1/2 cup of salad dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add vegetables and parsley. Continue cooking until shrimp are cooked through and vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.

- Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.


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