Event raises awareness about heart disease in women

1 week 3 days 14 hours ago Friday, February 07 2020 Feb 7, 2020 Friday, February 07, 2020 3:25:00 PM CST February 07, 2020 in News
By: Marian Bouchot, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The American Heart Association sponsored a Go Red for Women event to raise awareness of heart disease and stroke in women. 

The event took place at VA Medical Center. Several women attended wearing red for the special occasion.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US. Go Red for Women is a national movement that aims at dispelling misinformation about heart disease and symptoms in women.  Symptoms are commonly thought of to be chest pain, heavy breathing, and dizziness. Those are all true, but sometimes women don't experience those typical symptoms. For example, chest pain is often not a symptom for women, but jaw pain can be.

"Women tend to have more often pain in the upper back or pain in the neck or jaw and can also have flu like symptoms or just a general sense of weakness of fatigue along with nausea and vomiting," Truman VA Cardiologist Rachel Littrell said.

There were a few female veterans that attended, and one of them, an Army veteran, even spoke about her experience when she got a heart attack on Sept. 11 2019. She said she had felt really tired, her arms felt much heavier, and her elbows were in pain.

"The biggest thing I've learned that women that you may not know that you're having a heart attack that my symptoms were nothing like other people's symptoms that I knew of or I that I have ever heard of," said retired army veteran Caroline Abshier. "I'm very careful now and I come to the ER when I need to when I have things that I don't understand or I'm not sure what's going on that can't be explained."

Another retired veteran attended the event to learn about how she can be more cautious. She said her mom suffered from a heart attack and wants to make sure it doesn't happen to her.

"My fear is that even though all of these tests say you know your heart is fine, it's not fine. [My doctor] is very good and has run a lot of tests to reassure me," said retired Army veteran Doris O'Hara. "I live by myself there'd be no one to know I wasn't feeling well to drive me to the hospital. So I have to be very proactive now to make sure that doesn't happen."



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