February is dedicated to heart health

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February 7, 2014 2:42:54 PM PST
Today is Wear Red Day. But February is also Heart Month, and the American Heart Association asks everyone to try to make at least one change that will make your heart healthier.

Some choose to lose weight, while others make healthy changes to their diet, such as eating more vegetables or cutting down on red meat.

You can also have your cholesterol level checked or talk to your doctor about your risk for heart attack or stroke.

That is the message a local woman, who is now working with the Heart Association, is trying to spread.

"Know your family health - don't be silent," says Heart Ambassador Rosetta Carrington Lue.

In 2012 she knew something was wrong but she and others didn't think it could be heart disease.

It was.

In her case an infection attacked her heart. And because treatment was delayed, she had to have two valves replaced, and she now has congestive heart failure.

She shares her story in the hopes it will spark others to act quickly if it happens to them.

"Many times it doesn't show on the external side. So many times we don't know what the symptoms are, we don't really understand our risk, understand our family history, or as to how this disease is prevalent among women - especially women of color," Lue explains.

African-Americans are at a greater risk for heart failure... and at an earlier age. But no one is immune. The best way to protect yourself is to live healthy, get regular check-ups and know the signs of heart disease.

Many people know the classic signs of a heart attack, like chest pain and shortness of breath. Other signs include numbness or discomfort radiating to the jaw or shoulder weakness or dizziness.

But in women they may not have chest pain. And these other symptoms could be mild. They may have nausea/vomiting, sweating, discomfort to the neck, upper back or even stomach pain or unusual fatigue.

Even if you are not sure, if you are having some of these symptoms you need to get checked out immediately.

It's better to be wrong, then to be too late.


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