A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others. -Wizard of Oz
“If you want to get attention, wear red.” That’s our advice to you in our Fashion Forward column and why you’ll see many people wearing that bold color this month in honor of American Heart Month. It all kicks off with National Wear Red Day on February 4th, but it doesn’t stop there, everyone is encouraged to wear more red this month to help raise awareness of heart disease.
And while a beautiful woman in a red dress may make a man’s heart skip a beat, it is heart disease that will cause it to stop beating all together. But, like the two-sided coin of love, heart disease is what you might call a “lady killer.” It is the number one cause of death of women in the US, and while breast cancer garners much publicity heart disease is six times more deadly. The thorny rose of this month’s favorite color is that the heart is a fickle thing…in love and in health. Fortunately, there are many ways of preventing both types of broken hearts.
Next time you feel a tightness in the center of your chest, have difficulty breathing, pounding heartbeats or more beats than normal, dizzy, sweating for no apparent reason or feeling nauseas ask yourself if these are the emotional signs of a newly hoped for Valentine or if your heart is in much more serious danger: disease. Or maybe you have felt like you have had the flu for a couple of weeks and can’t seem to shake it. Report all of these symptoms to your doctor or to the attendees at the emergency room. Don’t dismiss one or the other. They are each significant. Again like love, heart disease is ageless. It is the third leading cause of death in women aged 24-44 and the second cause of death in women aged 45-64. For women over 65, it is the leading cause of death.
This being American Heart Month, it’s only fitting then that our Leading Woman column for this month features Dr. Gladys Velarde, founder and director of the Women’s Heart Health Program at the URMC. Through her research Dr. Velarde is making an effort to better understand the complexities of women’s heart health. Read her remarkable story on page 45.
So let’s go ladies! Go to your closet, grab your favorite red dress, blouse, jacket or sweater and join the campaign. Too, think about making your own Valentine card this year. It might read, “I give my healthy heart to you!”