CHICAGO-The Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) officials and staff are asking residents to join them in recognizing February 1, 2013 as “Wear Red Day” in honor of 2013 National Heart Health Month. All residents of Cook County are encouraged to wear red and learn more about their heart health to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease prevention.

Nearly 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, an average of one death every 39 seconds. The Cook County Health & Hospitals System cares for more than 10,000 patients annually in our cardiology clinics. We have over 3,500 visits to the Emergency department with complaints of chest pains and/or heart disease & nearly 2,000 hospitalizations.

In suburban Cook County alone, nearly 3,700 people die each year from cardiovascular disease.

“Cardiovascular disease is the nation’s leading cause of death accounting for one out of three deaths nationwide,” said Dr. Ram Raju, CEO of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System. “Promoting education and awareness is two-fold; residents need to know the warning signs of heart attack and stroke and they need to learn their own personal risk for heart disease and reduce these risks by committing to be smoke-free, eating a healthy diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.”

More women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. If you have any of the following signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1…Get to a hospital right away.

Signs of a Heart Attack:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, tobacco use, and secondhand smoke are major risk factors associated with heart disease. All men and women should talk to their health care provider and learn their own personal risks.

Tips to lower your risk:

  • Start or maintain an active lifestyle. Do a total of 30-minutes of physical activity on most, if not, all days of the week.
  • Eat a “heart-healthy” diet. Include more fruits and vegetables, whole-grains and lean meats.
  • Be smoke free. Protect yourself and your loved ones from the health risks of secondhand smoke by keeping your home and car smoke-free.

Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national call to increase awareness of heart disease – the leading cause of death in women – and to inspire women to take charge of their heart health. Help us make a change today!

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