National Wear Red Day spotlights heart disease in women

Actress Elizabeth Banks makes an appearance to promote the national "Go Red For Women" campaign, in support of heart disease awareness, at Macy's Herald Square on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini) AP

go red for women, national wear red day, american heart association, elizabeth banks
Actress Elizabeth Banks makes an appearance to promote the national "Go Red For Women" campaign, in support of heart disease awareness, at Macy's Herald Square on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 in New York.
AP

(CBS) It's National Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association's campaign to spread awareness for heart disease in women, their number one killer. Are you wearing red today?

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An estimated one in four women dies from heart disease in the U.S., according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. That's more deaths from heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, says the AHA.

But 80 percent of those deaths could be prevented if women eat right, exercise, and don't smoke. That's why the AHA spreads awareness through its Go Red For Women campaign so women "don't become a statistic."

Besides keeping themselves healthy, the AHA says women should look out for signs of a heart attack, so they call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital immediately - or at most within five minutes.

Women should be on the lookout for uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of their chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or comes and goes. Also, be on the lookout for pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort, are also signs of a heart attack, along with breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Women are more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms besides chest pain and discomfort, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain, according to the AHA.

Check out the American Heart Association's Go Red website for more ways you can spread awareness.

And watch this public service announcement/short film from actress Elizabeth Banks, star of the upcoming movie, "The Hunger Games."


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