American Heart Month
  Lisa with her mom who passed away in 2010

Lisa Hanik's Story

May 12, 2010 marks the first time I realized that heart health would irreversibly change my life. That's the day I lost my mom to heart disease. She died of a massive heart attack at the age of 62.

Growing up, it seemed as if my mother could do anything. She successfully raised four children as a single parent! However, the one obstacle she couldn't overcome was smoking. She just couldn't quit no matter how hard she tried. She experienced her first heart attack when she was 41 years old.

I seemed to follow in her footsteps. On March 12, 2011 at the age of 39, I too had a heart attack and underwent surgery to receive two heart stints. Surgeons told me that I was lucky. Had I fallen asleep or waited any longer to contact medical help, I would not have survived. I stopped smoking that day. I also changed my eating habits and took advantage of Roth Staffing's gym reimbursement program to join a health club, where I now exercise 3-5 times a week.

Fortunately, my heart health story has a different outcome than my mother's. I recently had a stress test to check on my two stints and it showed that my heart is in good shape! March 12, 2013 marks my two-year anniversary of living smoke-free, and I have never felt better!


Fact of the Week

Cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease, hypertension and stroke, is the number one killer of women, according to the American Heart Association. It kills nearly half a million American women each year; that is more deaths than all forms of cancer. That figure exceeds the next seven causes of death combined.

Moreover, women are 15% more likely than men to die of a heart attack and they are twice as likely to have a second heart attack in the six years following the first. Women tend to develop cardiovascular disease later in life than men, the condition can occur at any age and is often more fatal in women than in men. The symptoms of heart disease can differ in men and women. Tragically, too often women are unaware of the warning signs of a heart attack and fail to seek prompt medical attention.


Tip of the Week

Know the signs of a heart attack for women:

  • Flu-like Symptoms
    A month prior to the heart attack, a woman may have flu-like symptoms such as nausea, clamminess, cold sweats or indigestion.
  • Shortness of Breath
    Women may experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. This can occur a month before the heart attack and become severe close to the impending heart attack.
  • Pain
    Just before the heart attack, pain usually occurs in the upper back, shoulders, left arm, neck and jaw. Pain in the jaw line may be intense.
  • Chest Tightness
    Chest pain may not be noticeable because it may not feel like pain. It may be tightness or squeezing sensation in the chest. Some refer to it as heaviness.
  • Impending Warnings
    Chest pain, pain radiating to the left arm and shoulder, shortness of breath, severe indigestion, nausea and heart palpitations are strong indications of an impending heart attack

Wear Red Day

Starting next Friday, we encourage everyone to wear red and/or a Red Dress pin in support of women's heart health.

Most Americans still don't know that women display very different signs of heart disease than men or that Heart Disease is the number one killer of women! Most people think of heart disease as a man's health concern. All coworkers are invited to participate by wearing red and/or a Red Dress pin on Fridays in February to spread awareness that heart disease is a women's disease, too.


Where Can I Get a Red Dress Pin?

dress pin

If you have a Red Dress pin from last year's American Heart Month, now is the time to dust it off and wear it proudly! If you do not have a pin, we suggest checking if local medical centers or health groups have any available, or requesting a free pin for next year's Heart Month through Go Red for Women. Go to their website at and click on the "Get Pin" button at the bottom of the page.

American Heart Month