BANGOR- It’s American Heart Month and Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center officials spent Friday raising awareness of the prevalence of heart disease, particularly among women.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the country.
Because of this, hospital officials encouraged employees and visitors to wear red on Friday for the Go Red for Women event.
“We do things like go red today just to kind of let people know that there are things that you can do out there to prevent this and then also to let them know what they need to do if they are actually having the signs and symptoms and to know when to come in for treatment,” said Michael Melia, the hospital’s chief of emergency medicine.
Besides wearing red, employees passed out special gift baskets and other free resources to educate people about the signs and symptoms of heart disease.
Melia said that one in four deaths in women is caused by heart disease or heart-related issues, and that is a trend that he said he sees in the emergency room.
“Chest pain and heart disease is one of the most common complaints that come in through the emergency department, so routinely on any given shift, I’m going to see probably about a third of my patients come in with a chest pain complaint,” Melia said.
He said some potential warning signs for women to look out for is extended shortness of breath, unusual or extreme fatigue, chest pain or lightheadedness.
For anyone with these symptoms, coming in and getting an evaluation while it’s not too late is important because prevention is better than treatment.
“We like to tell our patients, we have two eyes, two lungs, two kidneys, you have one heart and you can’t make a mistake,” Melia said.