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    Go Red For Women: Seeing the signs and being proactive when it comes to heart disease

    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There is a reason we all dressed in red this morning and that’s because it’s National Wear Red Day to support Go Red For Women. 

    It’s a day that puts the spotlight on the growing problem of women and heart disease. 

    So, I checked in with a cardiologist to put the problem in perspective. 

    It may be Go Red For Women, but men pay attention too because it’s important for our own health as well as the women we love. 

    We live our lives in confidence that our hearts will just keep on beating. 

    “Cardiovascular disease continues to be the number one cause of death among women in the United States,” said Dr. Indu Poornima, a cardiologist with Allegheny Health Network. 

    Dr. Poornima said women know all about breast cancer and the need for mammograms, but heart disease can be a blindspot. 

    “They don’t really identify that as a major problem,” she said. “[Between] 45 and 50 million women are essentially living with some form of heart disease.” 

    According to Dr. Poornima, there’s a red, flashing light and that’s the fact that heart disease in younger women is on the rise. 

    Yes, there are a lot of younger women at the gym or out jogging, but it’s not the norm. 

    “We are seeing rising rates of high blood pressure, obesity, [and] all of these conditions physical inactivity, I would say are the big things,” explained Dr. Poornima.

    All of that is perhaps lighting a long fuse. 

    “Cardiovascular disease can be cited for many years before it becomes manifest [and] in a fashion that is quite serious,” she said. 

    Dr. Poornima said every woman should have their blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol, physical activity, diet, sleep, and knowing your family history. 

    “That itself is the best way to assess if your address for a future cardiovascular event,” she said. 

    As for us men, we have to be proactive with the women in our lives. 

    “I think they can support them in terms of getting their cardiovascular health assessed,” Dr. Poornima said. 

    Race plays a factor, as well. Black women are more susceptible to heart disease, but across all races, we lose over 300,000 women a year to cardiovascular disease. 

    So, after you get checked out, what comes next? 

    First, find out if there’s an indicator of issues to come and you can get preventative treatment. As Dr. Poornima said, cardiovascular disease is totally preventable and if you have a family history, you can push back the impacts until later in life. 

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