It isn't normal that I am a little jealous of October's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I didn't choose February's American Heart Month as my inside drive to cry out about. It chose me. February coincidentally is the month my mother passed of a heart attack - February 26, 2001. American Heart Month doesn't get near as much attention as October and I understand that because breast cancer and women seem to go hand in hand. The weird reality is that heart cancer is the number one killer of women and it seems to be in our hands at times... Somehow it seems we control our cholesterol; somehow it seems we control nothing. I don't have millions to support the month, but what I think I want out of it is just education for others.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women. Number one. It doesn't seem real when I don't know many people who have lost women to a heart attack. Oh, but I know myself. I have lost a mother and two grandmothers. If you want to go further than that I lost my grandfather and my other grandfather had open heart surgery, but he actually passed away from heart cancer (a tumor in his main artery which at that time was one of the first in the United States). Needless to say... they already check my cholesterol. And, no, they were not overweight, artery clogging people. Grandaddy Bill jogged every day, never ate anything bad, biked everywhere he went. Grandmommy lived a good life and weighed about 90... but, she ate horribly and was always stressed. Granny Jac was fine physically, but was losing a bit of her memory. I'm not sure what caused it. (I must add in my grandmothers the doctors conclude heart attacks as do the death certificates, but since they both technically passed away of a sudden occurrence at an older age we did not have an autopsy). Mom never had any heart problems, but she had many other health issues throughout her life. She had stomach trouble, diverticulosis, a hysterectomy at a young age... If you ask me I think somewhere in all of that something had to make her heart weak. I just don't know.
Mom passed away 11 years ago and since then it'd be great to save the world, but I haven't and I don't really know how. I work out, I eat right even though I enjoy dessert, I test my heart each year... but, we can't change our genetics or our worlds. I guess that leaves it up to the world. I found these statistics:
More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined.
While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 die of cardiovascular disease.
Currently, some eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only 1 in 6 American women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat.
Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.
Only slightly more than half of women are likely to call 911 if experiencing symptoms. And yet, 79 percent of women said that they would call 911 if someone else was having a heart attack.
Oh... and on that note... women are strong creatures... they don't usually call 911 because their symptoms are different. Women don't even usually have chest pain. My mother had strep throat the day of her heart attack. Of course she was not feeling well. She even went to the doctor that morning... no one knew.
My mom was 48. She was a young woman to pass this way. There is no way we could have known or maybe doctors could have even known. She probably didn't realize her genetics right there with her dad passing at age 54. We didn't harp on that education. I didn't know it was such a killer in women until a few years ago. I remember when she passed away and we got the autopsy results it was just understood and I didn't ask any questions. I just write this as a way to educate the women you know and love. Wear red on Friday and when they ask tell them it is for Deanna Adams.
The women's major symptoms prior to their heart attack included:
Unusual fatigue - 70%
Sleep disturbance - 48%
Shortness of breath - 42%
Indigestion - 39%
Anxiety - 35%
Major symptoms during the heart attack include:
Shortness of breath - 58%
Weakness - 55%
Unusual fatigue - 43%
Cold sweat - 39%
Dizziness - 39%