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MHS raises awareness of heart health on National Wear Red Day

National Wear Red Day helps raise awareness of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Join us for National Wear Red Day, Friday, Feb. 7. Wear red, snap a photo with your family and friends, and share it on social media using the hashtag #WearRedDay. (MHS photo) National Wear Red Day helps raise awareness of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Join us for National Wear Red Day, Friday, Feb. 7. Wear red, snap a photo with your family and friends, and share it on social media using the hashtag #WearRedDay. (MHS photo)

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What’s a great way to raise awareness of heart disease across the Department of Defense community? Join us for National Wear Red Day, Friday, Feb. 7. Wear red, snap a photo with your family and friends, and share it on social media using the hashtag #WearRedDay.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Heart disease and stroke cause more than 20 percent of deaths among women each year. A woman dies of cardiovascular disease approximately every 80 seconds. But there is hope – diseases of the heart can be prevented.

The CDC recommends four basic steps for reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, which could cause heart attack, stroke, or other illness.

  • Eat healthy – Think about what you eat. Make smart choices, with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, and nuts and legumes. Also, limit saturated fats, sodium, red meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Manage blood pressure – Nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure.While hereditary factors contribute to your risk of hypertension, a healthy lifestyle also contributes to increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or other illnesses.
  • Move more – For adults, the U.S. Surgeon General recommends two-and-a-half hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week; children should get about an hour per day.
  • Don’t smoke – Smoking greatly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you do smoke, you can lower your risk by reducing smoking or quitting.

According to the CDC, heart attack symptoms differ between men and women ­ but all warning signs should be treated as if your life depends on it.

Possible Heart Attack Symptoms

If you have any of these signs of a heart attack, call 911 and get to a hospital right away:

  • 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.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

The most common heart attack symptom in women, as with men, 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 or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Possible Stroke Symptoms

If you have any of these stroke symptoms, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.

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

Throughout February, Health.mil will feature articles that can help you achieve Total Force Fitness and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

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High school basketball requires skill and rigorous training. In rare but highly publicized cases, it can also bring cardiac issues to the surface. (U.S. Army photo by Chuck Gannon)

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