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Wear Red Friday: Fighting Heart Disease in Women

GRAPHIC: Friday is National Wear Red Day, as the color choice for clothing is meant to raise awareness of the impact of heart disease on women. Graphic credit: American Heart Association.
GRAPHIC: Friday is National Wear Red Day, as the color choice for clothing is meant to raise awareness of the impact of heart disease on women. Graphic credit: American Heart Association.
February 5, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Residents across Minnesota tomorrow will be wearing their hearts on their sleeves, so to speak, as Friday is National Wear Red Day.

The goal of the annual Wear Red Day is to raise awareness that heart disease is not just something that impacts men.

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Richard Aplin with the Centracare Heart and Vascular Center, says it's just as deadly for women, and while they can have the same heart attack symptoms of men, like chest pain and nausea, women can also present in a more atypical manner.

"Perhaps they have more jaw discomfort," he says. "I've seen that over my years of doing this and I've seen women maybe have more arm pain and more shortness of breath with their heart attack symptoms."

According to the American Heart Association, one-third of all women in this country die from heart disease and stroke.

If you're suffering from any of these symptoms and they don't subside with the ending of any physical exertion, Aplin says it's time to call 9-1-1, so the process of diagnosis and preparing for treatment can begin, instead of the person trying to drive to the hospital themselves.

"There's lots of problems with that, but if anybody has an (cardiac) arrest while somebody's being driven in, then what are they going to do with that situation," he asks. "It's never a good idea to drive to the emergency room."

Aplin adds, for women and men, heart disease and stroke are highly preventable with healthy lifestyle choices like quitting smoking, a nutritional diet and physical activity.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN