People spent time Friday coming together to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke.
As part of National Wear Red Day, people are focusing on heart health. According to the American Heart Association, one in three women die of heart disease and stroke each year. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, claiming the lives of more women than all forms of cancer combined. There are some major risk factors like smoking, bad eating, lack of exercise and high blood pressure.
For women, the signs of a heart attack can often be dismissed. Tasha Benjamin of East Syracuse is a busy mother of four. Her days are filled with shuffling kids to sports practice, heading to church and caring for everyone else. “You can’t let a busy lifestyle deter you from taking care of yourself,” Benjamin said.
The last person she was worried about was herself. But a routine EKG in 2014 proved she needed to start focusing on her own health. “If I didn’t go for my physical, I would have never had the EKG, I would never had known I had suffered a heart attack,” she said.
Benjamin would later learn she suffered what is known as a silent heart attack. The symptoms can be subtle including chest discomfort, jaw and lower back pain, nausea and dizziness. For women, the warning signs can often be missed. “You may not necessarily feel an elephant sitting on your chest, which is sometimes related to having a heart attack. It may just be you feel nauseous and dizzy and you may say oh it’s something I ate or I could be tired,” Benjamin said.
In the years since her heart troubles, Benjamin has changed her diet and exercises more often.
She is now raising awareness to help other women, becoming the face of National Wear Red Day in Syracuse. She is encouraging them to pay attention to their bodies if something seems wrong. “I’m glad we are taking the time to bring it to light, because it does happen unfortunately,” she said.
For more information about heart health, click here.