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POV: Seeing red's a good thing this month

Know the symptoms of heart disease. There’s the typical crushing chest pain, but women especially could have different symptoms – like shortness of breath, dizziness, pain in the shoulders or back or nausea. Trust your instincts, too. If something doesn’t seem right, be persistent with your healthcare provider that he or she look into it.

And please don’t forget another debilitating cardiovascular disease: stroke. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in America; stroke is No. 4. One in six people will suffer a stroke in their lifetime. If you’re African-American, you’re at double the risk of stroke compared to Caucasians. Some of the risk factors for stroke include migraines, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders like diabetes and tobacco use.

Activities throughout American Heart Month will provide a chance to get a health assessment. On Thursday, Feb. 2, before the Capital Repertory Theater’s showing of “The Sisters Rosensweig,” St. Peter’s will join the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red to offer blood pressure screenings.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Crossgates Mall, the Community Action Committee of the American Heart Association’s board and St. Peter’s Hospital will provide stroke screenings. Please join us for these – or call your own physician to schedule a checkup.

And, please, think about contributing to the American Heart Association. We are fortunate in the Capital Region that the Heart Association is currently funding about $1.2 million in research. Your contributions can help save lives. You can also have some fun, by joining us at a Heart Walk (May 12 and Oct. 20 this year) or at the Go Red for Women Luncheon on May 24. Visit www.heart.org to get information about these events.

So this month, think about simple steps you can take to improve your health. Here are some suggestions:

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