A Legislative Column by Assemblyman Will Barclay
February is National Heart Month and a time each year that people “Go Red For Women.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease was the number one killer in our state in 2015.
Despite efforts to inform the public about the dangers and seriousness of this disease, mortality rates continue to be an issue today.
Heart Disease is not just an issue seniors or older adults face.
Young adults sometimes suffer from this disease due to an earlier onset of conditions that lead to heart disease.
Aside from the top three risk factors of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking, heart disease can also be caused by diabetes, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, and obesity.
Many with high blood pressure are young, in their 40s and 50s, but without steps to lower blood pressure, they risk heart disease or stroke.
High cholesterol and smoking are other high risk factors that could yield devastating results without preventative measures.
Those who have dealt with heart disease in the past understand the impact it has on their daily lives.
Healthcare providers note that patients often struggle with anxiety and are worried about the potential of another heart issue arising.
This fear severely strains the emotional and mental health of those already facing heart problems which leads to further health concerns.
A person’s mobility may also be limited.
There are preventative measures that can be taken to minimize risk.
For smokers, it is critical to start the process of quitting or at least working to cut down the number of cigarettes smoked each day.
Staying active will also greatly improve heart health, along with maintaining healthy eating habits.
For those already facing some of these risk factors, you should consult with your doctor about things you can do to manage and prevent problems from worsening.
To help raise awareness about this dangerous disease, the New York State Assembly passes a resolution each year honoring “Go Red for Women” month.
The American Heart Association began its “wear red” campaign in 2003 to help educate the public about the various symptoms men and women face when suffering with heart disease.
The campaign began in part because women traditionally have different warning signs of heart disease than men and problems were going ignored.
Often women experience symptoms like nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, and jaw pain when having a heart attack, while men experience left-arm weakness, a heavy chest and shortness of breath.
To learn more about this disease, visit the American Heart Association’s site at www.heart.org/HEARTORG; the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention site on heart disease, https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/index.htm, and MillionHearts, https://millionhearts.hhs.gov/learn-prevent/index.html.
These websites offer valuable information about heart disease including local resources, answers to frequently asked questions and healthy living tips.
If you have any questions or comments regarding this or any other state issue, please contact me.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.
You can also friend me, Assemblyman Barclay, on Facebook.