Doc Talk: Go Red for Women
KALAMAZOO, Mich. —
Doctors say every 80 seconds a woman dies of coronary disease and that makes heart disease the number one killer of women in the United States.
Those numbers are high and that's why raising awareness of the problem is critically important so in this episode of Doc Talk, Newshcannel 3's Erica Mokay explains what woman need to look out for.
When you think heart attack --joking aside-- you may think of something like the obvious symptoms, kind of like what you'd hear in the 70s sitcom Sanford and Son.
While those symptoms can be true for men, it is not necessarily the case for women.
Borgess Cardiologist Dr. Ken Tobin said, “It took a long time to realize that no, women’s symptoms are very different then men’s.”
Tobin says those symptoms can be subtle or even atypical, like pain in the right side of the chest instead of the left or simply being tired.
He said, “In women it can be as simple as fatigue and you can't tell me that most women that take care of a family, that have a job and everything else... Who's not fatigued? So, it's an easy symptom to miss.”
The chance of a woman dying from cardiovascular disease is one in seven. That includes stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease.
Tobin said, “That, I don’t think a whole lot of women quite understand from an educational standpoint of how much of a magnatude of a problem this is. If you think that every 80 seconds one woman dies of coronary disease in the United States that puts it in perspective.”
So, in 2003, to raise awareness, the American Heart Association launched National Wear Red Day. Since that time, doctors say the numbers reflect a change in the way patients view heart disease and that is progress.
Tobin said, “There has been a definite decrease in overall cardio vascular mortality for women since Go Red has been in place. The problem is we're just not there yet.”
To help get there, Tobin says listen to your body and talk to your doctor if you think there's an issue.
February is America Heart Month and February 2 is Wear Red Day.
Borgess Hospital is also raising awareness with a Go Red for Women luncheon on February 9.
For more information on that go to the event website.