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Washingtonians Wearing Red to Highlight Women's Heart Health

Cardiovascular diseases are preventable in 80 percent of the women who die from them. (Ike and Tash Photography)
Cardiovascular diseases are preventable in 80 percent of the women who die from them. (Ike and Tash Photography)
January 31, 2019

SEATTLE – American Heart Month kicks off Friday with National Wear Red Day to raise awareness for women's heart health.

Washingtonians are encouraged to wear red on Friday in solidarity with people across the country to shed light on cardiovascular diseases – the number one killer of women in the United States.

One in three women will die from these diseases, even though roughly 80 percent of them are preventable.

Laura Pugh, a stroke survivor who lives in Seattle, says at 38, she was busy and had turned into a "ball of stress."

"I didn't have time in my schedule for a stroke,” she relates. “I mean, come on. It just did not fit into my 9 to 5, my Type A.

“I scheduled everything and I made everything a priority over my health. I made my family, I made my friends, I made my career – everything went on that calendar more than taking the 30 minutes to exercise."

Pugh wasn't immediately sure what was happening so she Googled "stroke symptoms" and found the FAST examination, used to recognize the most common warning signs of stroke.

F stands for facial drooping, A for arm weakness, S for speech difficulty and T for time to call 911 if a person is showing any of these symptoms.

Pugh had facial drooping and arm weakness, but says she didn't call 911 like she should have.

When Pugh was discharged from the hospital, she could barely walk or use her right hand. But she had been selected to run in a half-marathon in Washington, D.C. in four months and she was determined to make it. She did.

Pugh says she's changed her life since her stroke, making time to exercise and eat right.

She compares taking care of one's health to putting on your oxygen mask on an airplane before helping someone else.

"You need to be able-bodied to take care of them, and it's the same thing here,” she stresses. “You need to be healthy to take care of your children, take care of your family. So, make your health a priority. "

Women have a higher risk of stroke, suffering about 55,000 more strokes than men each year.

For Wear Red Day, buildings across the state, such as CenturyLink Field in Seattle, also will be decked out in red.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA