National Wear Red Day spreads awareness about women's heart health

National Wear Red Day spreads awareness about women's heart health

HATTIESBURG, MS - Friday, people around the nation were wearing red for National Wear Red Day as a way to show support for the awareness of heart disease.

February is American Heart Month, but National Wear Red Day focuses on women with heart disease and stroke.

The American Heart Association started the campaign in 2003 because heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.

Emergency Medical Services Director Dixie Norris of Merit Health Wesley sees patients with heart problems in the ER regularly.

One report said one in three women die each year from heart disease, killing about one woman every 80 seconds.

"The symptoms of heart attack can be vaguer than it is in men," Norris said. "With women it can be crushing chest pains that radiate completely to the back. It can also be jaw pain."

Symptoms should not be taken lightly.

"They should get to an emergency room as soon as possible," Norris said. "Always remember with heart disease and heart attack time is muscle."

Reevaluating one's lifestyle can help to limit the risk of disease.

"Eat a more lower fat diet,  increase exercise into your daily activities, also have regular checkups with your physician including regular stress tests and EKG's," Norris said.

Norris said education can drastically cut down the number of stroke and heart disease cases by 80 percent.

"The more education we can tell the community and what signs to look for, the less heart damage they're going to have if they follow the instructions," Norris said.

According to the Mississippi Department of Health, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Mississippi.