Why do we wear a pink ribbon for breast cancer? Not to downplay the disease, but cancer has been bested (or outdone) by another fatal disease. It’s not in the breast; it’s in the heart. Women are killed more by heart disease than by breast cancer. As of 2004, 27% of women’s deaths were caused by heart disease; while breast cancer was second to that with 15%. Breast cancer is still a significant problem, and it actually deserves a pink ribbon. But more people should be aware of the red ribbon that represents the leading cause of death in women.
1 out of 4 female deaths is caused by heart disease. How could such a huge problem be overshadowed? How could only 54% of women know the danger they’re in? Perhaps it’s because heart disease is seen as a man’s problem, and breast cancer is emotionally devastating because of what it visibly takes away. Heart disease is concealed. You may not even know that you have heart disease. Out of the women who died suddenly of a heart attack, about 67% had no previous signs.
Elizabeth Banks starred and directed a short video to promote heart disease awareness. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7wmPWTnDbE) It does a fantastic job of demonstrating the signs of a heart attack and how easy it is for women to ignore it. But even after being on Youtube for over a year, it only has 1.8 million views – less than some viral videos of laughing babies. It’s evident that millions more need to be aware.
You try to prevent and detect breast cancer. So, why shouldn’t you be watching for signs of heart disease and going to regular check-ups with your doctor?
If you want to prevent or lower your risk for developing heart disease, here are some steps that you can take.
- Smoking is one of the leading causes of heart disease because it causes high blood pressure, and it can also intensify the blood’s ability to clot.
- Train or do exercises at least 30 minutes a day. I know it sucks, but it’s better to be miserable for a few minutes than to be six feet under.
Watch Your Weight
- Keep a healthy weight. Clogged arteries have never been fun.
Check Blood Pressure Regularly
- High blood pressure is a precursor to heart disease.
You examine your breasts in search of a lump. So, you should also check your heart regularly. A woman’s life is busy. We love to put off how we’re feeling until we know we got everything done (which is usually never). Still, don’t let your hectic life take up all your thoughts. Be aware of the signs of a heart attack; it may save your life.
A few symptoms include: heartburn, coughing, heart flutters, shortness of breath; pain in the center of your chest; pain in arms, back, or jaw; cold sweat and feeling faint. Don’t rationalize how you’re feeling. Symptoms may come suddenly, or they may build after days. Also, they may leave and come back. But no matter how it hits you, it is still a heart attack. If you suspect that you are having a heart attack, go to the doctor immediately.
Claire Hunt is a freelance author who specializes in medical issues. She writes about diseases, superbugs, and other health-related topics. She also provides material for a medical supplier, CIA Medical, which offers well-known products at reasonable prices.