February is American Heart Month & Fargo is Going Red

Local organizations are celebrating Go Red for Women to raise heart disease awareness

February is American Heart Month and heart disease is the number one killer of women causing one in three deaths each year.

Go Red for Women is celebrated on the first Friday of February each year and Fargo is one of the many cities that have been holding events throughout the day to bring awareness to heart disease.

“Way more women die from heart disease than from breast cancer,” said HPDP Manager with the U.S. Government VA Medical Center, Bonnie Odermann.

While this is widespread in both men and women, approximately one woman every minute is dying from heart disease from symptoms she doesn’t know she is having.

Experts say most symptoms are atypical and can be something that’s easily over looked.

“Probably one of the main ones for women is just a fatigue,” said Women Veteran’s Program Manager, Margaret Leas. “Most of us just say oh we got to shake it off.”

Leas is the Women Veteran’s Program Manager at the U.S. Government Veterans Medical Center, where she helped take part in the Heart Health Fair & Go Red for Women Expo earlier today.

Members learned CPR, had blood pressure screenings and had the opportunity to sit through a heart healthy cooking demonstration.

“When somebody has a large heart attack,” explained Odermann, “we know that we can reduce the risk of that by doing some basic things.”

One of the best ways to lower your risk is by getting your cardio exercise in at least three to four times a week.

“Walking your dog, walking on a treadmill, walking outside,” said Levi Spect, an Exercise Physiologist with Sanford Health. “Anything for a longer duration of time that’s going to raise your heart rate. Just keep those arteries in your heart nice and clean and hopefully improve your blood flow throughout the rest of your body too.”

Exercising isn’t the only way to stay healthy.

Experts say changing your diet and some of the foods you eat may also reduce your risk for heart disease.

“Set the salt shaker aside don’t add any extra salt to your meals,” said Specht.

Sanford Health’s cardiac rehabilitation group participated in the Annual Cardiac Rehab Challenge to help raise awareness of the role physical activity plays in the prevention and recovery process.

Staff and patients had the opportunity to walk or run on a treadmill at their own speed logging the amount of miles they reached at the end.

“The more changes we can help people make, the better,” said Specht.

As many people suffer from heart disease each year, fortunately, 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

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