At-Risk Latinas Targeted In Heart Attack Awareness Campaign

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)–The HHS Office on Women’s Health (OWH) today launched its new heart attack awareness campaign targeting Spanish-speaking women age 50 and over. The “Haga La Llamada, ¡No Pierda Tiempo!” campaign builds on OWH’s successful “Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat” campaign, that began in 2011. The new Spanish-language campaign aims to educate and empower Spanish-speaking women to call 9-1-1 when they experience any of the seven symptoms of a heart attack and to do the same for their mothers, sisters and friends.

Forty percent of Latina women have two or more risk factors for having a heart attack, according to a study Exit disclaimer icon in the Journal of the American Medical Association that was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In fact, one in four Puerto Rican women has three or more risk factors.

Fewer than half of Latina women age 55 and over, who were surveyed by the American Heart Association in 2006 and 2009 Exit disclaimer icon, recognized the typical heart attack symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, and pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms. Less than 15 percent of Latina women in this age group recognized the atypical heart attack symptoms of nausea, vomiting or unusual fatigue (which may be present for days).  Data from a study Exit disclaimer icon in the Journal of Women’s Health also suggest that women who are at the highest risk for heart disease are actually least aware of the threat.

“Our goal is to continue educating women about the symptoms and the need to call 9-1-1. We are working with our partners to reach out to Hispanic and other minority women, who are at greater risk for developing heart disease than non-Hispanic white women,” said Nancy C. Lee, M.D., HHS deputy assistant secretary for health – women’s health and director, Office on Women’s Health.

This February, American Heart Month, OWH urges women to make the call to 9-1-1 immediately if they experience any one or more of the following seven symptoms:

  • Chest pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
  • Unusual upper body pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck, jaw or upper part of the stomach
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweats

In December 2012, OWH awarded funds to eight community-based organizations and two health departments to increase awareness around heart health in Spanish-speaking women. They are located across the nation in Chicago, Denver, Des Moines, Durham (North Carolina), Miami, Philadelphia, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and Washington state.

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