Red Alert

August 25, 2010

A new campaign to raise awareness among women of how to protect themselves from the risk of heart disease and stroke, begins this September led by the Irish Heart Foundation and supported by the Health Service Executive.

The campaign will focus on specific issues for women including healthy lifestyle behaviours, recognition of signs and symptoms of heart attack, stroke recognition and appropriate management of high blood pressure and high cholesterol as well as the impact of menopause on women’s heart health.

Dr Kate McGarry, Consultant Physician and Chair of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Council on Women and CVD said: “Every two hours a woman dies in Ireland from cardiovascular disease (heart, stroke and blood vessel diseases). When it comes to health issues, women are more concerned about breast cancer even though seven times as many women die from heart disease and stroke in Ireland each year. Our goal is to alert women that especially after the menopause, they are at risk of heart attack and stroke, as much as any man. But the good news is that a positive lifestyle can alter risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Go Red for Women is a wake-up call to every woman in Ireland to take care of her heart health.”

Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation, Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Angie Brown said: “The campaign also aims to highlight that the signs and symptoms of heart attack may be different for women to those of men. A woman may experience more vague symptoms such as nausea, tiredness, shortness of breath, rather than the more usual crushing pain in the chest. Unfortunately this may mean that women delay in getting to the hospital and therefore lose valuable time for the necessary treatment.”

Maureen Mulvihill, Health Promotion Manager from the Irish Heart Foundation said: “Throughout the month of September our charity, supported by the Health Service Executive (HSE), will promote healthy lifestyle behaviours so more women will know how to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and will recognise the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke.

Red Alert – Key Message

* Enjoy life. Take time out for yourself and keep in touch with friends
* Be active – at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 times a week
* Eat more fruit and vegetables and less fat and fries. Eat more fresh food and less convenience foods
* If you smoke, try to stop
* Go easy on alcohol –  no more than 14 standard drinks per week
* Have regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks with your family doctor
* Know your family history and know the signs and symptoms of heart disease

Information Source: Irish Heart Foundation