Warning signs: stop a leading killer of women in its tracks
(NC)—Women are more likely to ignore key warning signs of a leading cause of death, says the president of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
According to the Foundation, heart disease and stroke kills seven times more women than breast cancer. Nine in 10 Canadian women have at least one significant risk factor for heart disease or stroke.
Since 1999, Bobbe Wood has championed innovative cardiovascular research, advocacy and public awareness initiatives on both the provincial and national levels. Wood, president of the foundation, has dedicated herself to improving awareness among women. More often than not, she says, women will dismiss early warning signs so that they can meet the demands of work, family or home – or all three.
“As women, we sometimes think that it's nothing. We're just a little run down today and we'll deal with it later,'” says Wood. “Women are less likely than men to believe they're having a heart attack or stroke, and more likely to delay treatment, putting their lives at risk.”
Be aware and act, asks Wood of Canadian women.
Heart attack warning signs include:
• chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness);
• discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back);
• shortness of breath;
Signs of a stroke are one or more of:
• Weakness: Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary
• Trouble speaking: Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary
• Vision problems: Sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary
• Headache: Sudden severe and unusual headache
• Dizziness: Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs
Recognizing these warning signs of heart attack and stroke can save women's lives. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately at the first sign of a heart attack or stroke. You can assess your risk for heart disease and stroke by taking an online quiz at TheHeartTruth.ca/quiz.
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