More women die of cardiovascular disease than the next five causes of death combined – and that includes ALL forms of cancer. That’s why Go Red for Women is dedicated to building awareness of heart disease in women.
Cardiovascular disease includes diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Most heart and blood vessel problems develop over time and occur when your arteries develop atherosclerosis, a process that begins in childhood and involves a gradual buildup of plaque inside your arteries.
Plaque contains fat, cholesterol and other substances and can grow large enough to significantly reduce blood flow through an artery. Most of the damage occurs when a plaque becomes fragile and ruptures.
Plaques that rupture can cause blood clots to form. These clots can block blood flow at the site of the rupture or can break off and travel through the artery to another part of the body. If either happens and blocks an artery that feeds the heart or brain, it causes a heart attack or stroke.
Here are some signs a heart attack may be happening:
Stroke is a medical emergency. Learn to recognize a stroke, because any delay in treatment can lead to brain damage. Warning signs may include:
If you or someone you know shows signs of heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately.