February marks the month to highlight heart disease prevention, especially for women

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - February is American Heart Month. It's a time to raise awareness about heart disease and how we can prevent it, especially in women.

Hy-Vee Inc. will offer free Heart Health Screenings throughout the month of September. (Photo Downloaded: MGN Credit:MGN)

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of one in three women. It takes more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

More than one in three women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease, a condition that kill one woman about every 80 seconds, BUT about 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.

There are definite early warning signs and symptoms of heart attacks. Women can experience all, some, a few, or none of these symptoms:
• Shortness of breath
• Nausea
• Unusual or extreme fatigue
• Breaking out in a cold sweat
• Chest pain or discomfort
• Lightheadedness or dizziness
• Upper body discomfort (in the jaw, neck, or back pain)

There are things we can do to help avoid cardiovascular disease.
• Walking just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
• Also, if you're a smoker, quit. Just one year after a person quits, they cut their risk of coronary heart disease by 50%.
• Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep puts us at greater risk for obesity, high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes and depression.
• Manage stress in healthy ways – ways that don't undermine health like drinking, smoking and over-eating.
• Stay in touch with friends and family and do things you love. Loneliness and low sense of purpose are hard on your heart.

Friday, February 7 is Go Red for Women Day. The first Friday of every February, people across the nation are encouraged to wear red to help raise awareness of heart disease, in particular among women. The staff at Northern Light Health will be wearing red on Friday and encouraging people to become Heart Health Heroes.

For more information about heart health, visit the Northern Light Health website at northernlighthealth.org/heart-health. You'll find a variety of resources, include heart healthy recipes and exercise tips.