MercyOne encourages communities to “Go Red for Women” on Friday

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(ABC 6 News) – February is American Heart Month, and MercyOne is taking part in the American Heart Association’s pledge to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease and stroke by encouraging communities to “go red for women” on Friday.

MercyOne says that heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year, and that heart disease is deadlier than most cancers combined.

“Heart disease is the number one cause of death in both men and women in the U.S., but women often experience more atypical symptoms,” said Dr. Denisa Hagau, general cardiologist at MercyOne North Iowa Heart Center. “Women often think symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue are just because of the flu or acid reflux, but there can really be something more serious going on such as a heart attack.”

While traditional risk factors for heart disease affect both men and women, there are other factors that can play a role in the development of disease in women. Heart disease risks include:

  • Family history of early heart disease
  • After menopause, estrogen production decreases and can lead to significant risk
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure

Dr. Hagau says that maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout young adulthood is important to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle age.

To take MercyOne’s Heart Health Quiz, CLICK HERE.