DETROIT — Nearly one out of every three women die from heart attacks or strokes each year. Knowing the risk factors and what to do is the goal of the American Heart Association (AHA). Lives can be saved if you act F-A-S-T.
Heart attack symptoms for women are different than for men. Look for uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest; Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort; and breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
Television host Nicole Curtis from HGTV and DIY Network’s “Rehab Addict” was the keynote speaker at the 2018 Go Red for Women luncheon on Friday inside Detroit’s Cobo Center. She talked about the importance of maintaining a work/life balance. The Michigan native called for more access to healthy food options within the city of Detroit.
“We need to be aware of how our bodies work,” Curtis explained. “It’s amazing that we are given a healthy start and sometimes we run it to the ground. It’s always up to me to find really great people. The greatest thing we can do is keep talking about it loudly. When people dismiss it, bring the conversation back. So many times we pretend everything is OK. I want to be able to use my body as long as I can. It’s so cool to be a part of this. That video was so heart wrenching. Life changes. It’s all about the quality of our life. For every woman that has a story there’s a life changed.”
There are several simple lifestyle changes that everyone can make to lower their risks of heart attacks and strokes. First, stop smoking and limit your alcohol intake. Secondly, be physically active and reduce your stress. Third, eat healthier meals and manage your diabetes if you have it. Finally, monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Linda Apsey is the President and CEO of ITC Holdings and the 2018 corporate chair of the Detroit Go Red for Women luncheon. She shared a personal story about her mother’s stroke.
“It’s such an honor to be working with the AHA,” Epstein said. “We’re all here today because we care. Together, we can create a world free of heart disease and stroke. I’m here for my mom. At the age of 65, she suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed. Thankfully my mom is still with us today. She was complaining about numbness in her left arm and her speech was sputtered. I didn’t know that 80 percent of strokes and heart disease are preventable. It starts with focusing on prevention. FAST facial drooping arm numbness difficulty speaking and time.”
Dr. Joan Crawford is the medical director of cardiology at St. John Macomb Oakland and the medical chair for the event. She announced the new guidelines for high blood pressure are now 130/80 mm Hg rather than 140/90. The change eliminates the category of prehypertension.
“We will live longer and enjoy better quality of life thanks to new treatments. I trained at Henry Ford Hospital. American heart was instrumental in demanding that women had to be included in studies. Smartphones revolutionized data. All high schoolers take CPR. We’re grateful for all of the students who will know CPR and will be the first responders. I’m very proud to be a cardiologist. Hopefully one day we can prevent and eliminate heart disease.”
Motivational speaker Amelia “Mimi Brown” served as host of the fundraising part of the program. Attendees held up envelopes with their donations and received free red scarfs for making a pledge.
“Macy’s has a couple of ways to help,” said Malika Harris, vice president and store manager of Macy’s at Fairlane Town Center. “You can Go Red. Ten percent of proceeds go back to AHA. We have raised $3 million campaign nationally. We thank all of you for your support. 397 lives are saved everyday.”
The AHA encourages everyone to learn the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and strokes. Both are preventable and lives can be saved if you act F-A-S-T.
For more information about the AHA’s Go Red for Women campaign, www.goredforwomen.org