GO RED! Why? by Maria Dorfner

GO RED!  Today is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease in women. That’s a photo from last summer, but you get the idea with the red.  Please don’t make fun of my phone.  Or the shadow from the phone.  Pay attention.

Why Women Only?  What about Men and Heart Disease?

In 2004, the American Heart Association (AHA) faced a challenge. Cardiovascular disease claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year, yet women were not paying attention.  See  how important it is to pay attention.  Your heart health matters way more than having a fancy phone.  Many women even dismiss cardiovascular disease as an “older man’s disease.”

To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women – a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

What’s with the Red Dress?

Ah, the dress.  I’m not standing in that photo because that dress is now a shirt thanks to a tailor.  Short Story! hahaha.   Back to hearts. In 2003, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the American Heart Association and other organizations committed to women’s health joined together to raise awareness of women and heart disease.  Unity.  Great.  Back to the red dress.

The NHLBI introduced the red dress as a national symbol for women and heart disease awareness and the American Heart Association adopted this symbol to create synergy among all organizations committed to fighting this cause.  Ah, synergy. It doesn’t really explain why the red dress, but ok.  That’s the explanation on their website.

I would have gone with Red is the color of heart and passion. Women have heart and passion, so we put them in a red dress to raise their passion about it.  That’s just me.

Back to these organizations, who do an excellent  job, by the way.  By working together to advance this important cause, the American Heart Association, NHLBI, and other women’s health groups will have a greater impact than any one group could have alone.

Where Do I Get Screened for Heart Disease?

Below is a link to get screened for heart disease. Here’s the catch. The tests costs around $200. but  frequently insurance providers do not cover the cost unless you are showing symptoms.  I think it may be too late by then.

So, now it’s ONLY if you’re at high risk which means you’re in the middle of having a stroke and they say, “Yes! High risk!” and toss you in a machine to get tested for heart disease.

They’re going to have to improve coverage if they really want to be about PREVENTION. I imagine the prevention they’re talking about is preventing doctors ordering unnecessary tests.  If people were ethical to begin with we wouldn’t have these problems.

Thank you, Saint Ephrems and to my family for teaching me about that.  Here’s the link to find out where you can get a screening:  www.lifelinescreening.com.  Below are answers to some other questions.

Why Should I Help Raise Awareness?

More women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. But 80 percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices for their hearts involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking. Make it your mission to learn all you can about heart attacks and stroke — don’t become a statistic.

CALL 9-1-1

What Happens When You Have a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot. If this clot cuts off the blood flow completely, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that artery begins to die.

How Do I Know if I’m Having a Heart Attack:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1…Get to a hospital right away.

What is a Stroke?

Stroke is the No. 3 cause of death in America. It’s also a major cause of severe, long-term disability. Stroke and TIA (transient ischemic attack) happen when a blood vessel feeding the brain gets clogged or bursts. The signs of a TIA are like a stroke, but usually last only a few minutes. If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help.

Call 9-1-1 to get help fast if you have any of these, but remember that not all of these warning signs occur in every stroke.

How Do I Know if I’m Having a Stroke?

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Also, check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared. It’s very important to take immediate action. Research from the American Heart Association has shown that if given within three hours of the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability for the most common type of stroke.

WHERE DOES THE MONEY GO IF I DONATE?

Donations to Go Red For Women help support efforts to educate women and to fund breakthrough research by the American Heart Association that helps ensure women are represented in clinical studies.  Since 2004, through its fundraising efforts, Go Red For Women has contributed almost $44 million to women-focused research and has provided additional funds to life-saving educational programs and tools for physicians.

 
Here’s a cute necklace if you’d like to get something in memory of your donation.  Also, when your friends compliment you on the cute necklace –you can help raise awareness by telling them all about heart disease.

If you’re a guy reading this –it makes for a heartfelt Valentine’s gift for a woman you love:

LINK TO PURCHASE NECKLACE:  https://shop.heart.org/AHAECOMM/en/ecommTemplate.jsp?pid=ahacomm.cat.product&categoryId=cat1000013&parentId=shcat1050001&id=prod900000

There are other items like a business card holder with a heart on it or related fitness wear or gear.

National Wear Red Day 2011
National Wear Red Day 2011 (Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Montevideo)
 
Here’s One Woman’s Personal Story.  Link at end to share yours.
 
Don’t be afraid to call 911….and don’t drive yourself to the hospital!!!

March 2008 I turned sixty years old and I felt completely fine with no health problems at all. But then six months later, I had the shock of my life because I had a unexpected, sudden heart attack.  It happened at 11 pm and I was just walking around my house, getting ready to go upstair to go to bed and from out of the blue, it hit me.

Like an elephant had just sat on my chest right between my two breasts. Like my chest was caving in and my lungs could not fill up with air.  At first I did not consider that this might be a heart attack.  I don’t know why that was…. I guess because the idea of having a unexpected, sudden heart attack just seem too unreal to me.

Something you might see in the movies, but not in real life. Anyway, after resting on the sofa for ten or so minutes and the heavy pressure in my chest still there, my mind finally began to consider the idea that this could be a heart attack.

I remember slowly walking up the stairs and waking up my husband saying, “I think I might be having a heart attack”.  He jumps up out of bed and says, “What should we do, call 911?”

I foolishly say, “No, get dressed and drive me to the hospital”.  PLEASE anyone reading this DO NOT do what I did and do not drive yourself to the hospital.

I live only two miles from a hospital.  I thought I could get there faster than waiting for an ambulance to get to my house. I did not consider, however, that when I walked myself into the ER at 12 am midnight that there would be no one in sight to help me.  No nurse sitting at the front desk, no people in the waiting room, and no way to yell for help because I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs to scream…. and there was also a glass partition separating the waiting room from the empty nurse’s desk.

As unbelievable as this sounds, I had to just sit in a chair in the empty waiting room, while I was looking at the empty desk, waiting for the nurse to return. It also passed through my mind that I might die right here where I sat in the waiting room, just yards away from doctors who could be saving my life if they knew I was here in the hospital.

I was alone because my husband was parking the car and when he got into the ER and saw me sitting there, he started banging on the glass partition wall, yelling through the glass for someone to help. A nurse finally came into view, saw my husband, and I was rushed to a bed, given an EKG, and was told I was having a heart attack.

A doctor quickly took my bed and started rolling it, running down the hall.  I remember feeling the wind on my face and said, “you are going so fast.”  He said, “I just walk fast”.  But truth is, everything was happening so fast because too much time had been wasted already….. because I did not call 911.

The end of the story is- I was given an angiogram and two stents were placed in my heart, and one hour later, I was in the cardiac intensive care unit breathing normally without any chest pains.

And now I know why it is best to call 911.  It’s because you get immediate help as soon as the ambulance arrives at your home and you get VIP treatment the minute you arrive at the hospital without having to wait to be checked into the emergency room before you can see a doctor.

I feel very fortunate to be alive and very happy I did not die sitting in a chair in the ER waiting room.  Don’t make the same mistake I did… Call 911.

SHARE YOUR STORY AT:  www.goredforwomen.org

 

GO RED! (me & my sister)

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