Wearing red, raising awareness for heart disease in women - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Wearing red, raising awareness for heart disease in women

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February is American Heart Month and KSBY is proud to partner with the American Heart Association on its "Go Red For Women" campaign. 

On Friday, KSBY Daybreak anchor Christina Favuzzi and reporter Megan Abundis emceed the "Go Red For Women" luncheons in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria respectively.

The annual campaign, which also encourages people to wear red, raises awareness about how heart disease is the number one killer of women and encourages women to take preventative measures to reduce their risk.

Heart disease currently affects 44 million women in the United States and heart disease or stroke kill 1 out of every 3 women. That's about 1 woman dying of heart disease every 80 seconds.

The good news is that many cardiovascular diseases are preventable.  

"About 80 percent of heart disease is something that can be treated or prevented or minimized," said Cardiovascular Specialist Dr. Alex Harrison.

Cardiologists say women are more at risk for heart disease as they age further from menopause.

"After menopause, women rapidly catch up to their same-aged men and exceed them by their 70s or 80s and having far more heart attacks then men are at that age," Harrison said.

The bottom line is, he said, all women, no matter their age, are at significant risk for heart disease and it's important to watch out for the warning signs.

"Diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood pressure, all of these are silent killers in that you feel fine until you've had them for many years and they cause serious problems," Harrison said.

The symptoms of a heart attack can look different in women. Instead of crushing chest pain, the signs can be more subtle, like nausea, sweating and jaw pain.

Cardiologists say everyone should have an annual physical exam with their doctor. Eating right and exercising at least 30 minutes a day are also ways to help prevent heart disease. 

Heart disease claims the lives of nearly half a million women each year. For a free resource to estimate your heart disease risk, click here.

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