What’s the #1 killer of women? Not cancer. Not COVID-19. It’s heart disease.

Heart disease and its complications account for about 20% of all female deaths in the United States. To get people thinking and talking about this, the American Heart Association has named February 5 National Wear Red for Women’s Heart Health Day. But it goes way beyond putting on some red clothing. Use this day to spread the word about actions that can save women’s lives:

  1. Know the signs of a heart attack in women. More women die of heart attacks than men. That’s a fact. The reason may have something to do with how a heart attack presents itself. The stereotypical symptom of a heart attack is intense pain in the chest. That certainly can happen when a woman experiences a heart attack. However, a woman’s symptoms can be much more subtle. Women may overlook signs such as back pain, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, or jaw pain.
  2. Quit smoking/vaping. Nicotine and other chemicals clog your arteries and make your heart work harder to keep blood flowing—the effects of smoking on circulation damage your feet as well.
  3. Stay active. Exercise regularly to keep your heart strong.
  4. Assess your risk of a heart attack. Start by talking with your physician. You can also learn more about the fight against heart disease in women by joining the Go Red for Women movement here. Encourage all the women in your life to do the same.

If you see many people dressed in red on February 5, they’re trying to send you a message: we can all do a better job of preventing heart disease-related deaths in women. At Clifton Foot & Ankle Center, our patients’ heart health is important to us. For more information about the connection between good heart and good foot health, contact board-certified podiatrist Kenneth R. Wilhelm, DPM, at our office in Centreville, Virginia. Call (703) 996-3000 or make an appointment online.

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