Women fighting for heart health

Log Cabin Staff Writer
Published Sunday, February 01, 2004

Women everywhere are turning to the color red to raise a warning flag against heart disease and to do battle with their No. 1 physical nemesis.

Under the banner of "Go Red For Women," the American Heart Association is urging women to be amenable to the precept of awareness of cardiovascular diseases.

"Take charge of your heart health, make it a top priority and live a stronger, healthier and longer life," is the mantra of the Heart Association for the month of February, when several events will give prominence to the urgent message.

The Heart Association, says Amanda Smith, an organization spokesman, suggests "women need a bold color like red to draw attention to heart disease. Red also symbolizes to women the power to take control of their health and passion for the women whose lives have been touched by heart disease."

On Friday, a sea of red is anticipated everywhere, when women don dresses, shirts, hats and other items of dress to call attention to the magnitude of heart disease and demonstrate support for victims of the affliction.

Men are rallying to the campaign and will be wearing red, too.

One of the local occurrences that will heighten interest in the campaign is the "Go Red Luncheon for Women," which will be held from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, at Woodland Heights Baptist Church, 4215 Prince St.

The assemblage will hear from Dr. E.J. Chauvin, a noted cardiologist and surgeon at Conway Regional Medical Center; Laine Berry, current Mrs. Arkansas; and Missy Lewis, the metro executive director of the American Heart Association.

This will be followed by a Faulkner County Heart Walk scheduled for Saturday, April 3, at Laurel Park. The event will begin at 8 a.m. with registration and pre-walk ceremonies, with the walk itself beginning at 9 a.m.

There is no fee for the 5K walk, but teams are encouraged to raise funds and earn prizes commensurate with the amount of money they raise. A $100 donation will earn an official Heart Association Walk T-shirt.

For questions regarding aspects of the walk, contact Amanda Smith at (501) 375-9148 or e-mail amanda.smith@heart.org.

Heart specialists maintain that both women and men develop unique life-changing power when they take steps to reduce their risk. That's because, physicians declare, much of heart disease can be prevented.

Heart disease and stroke claim the lives of more women than the next seven causes of death combined, and nearly twice as many as all forms of cancer, including breast cancer, statistics indicate.

It's been established that 90 percent of women feel they have power over their health but only 27 percent say their health is a top priority, according to a recent Heart Association survey.

Yet, about one in every 2.4 women die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular disease; heart disease being the No. 1 killer of women over the age of 25. Since 1984, more women than men have died of heart disease and related cardiovascular problems.

A comprehensive brochure of information about the disease and warning signs is available by visiting www.americanheart.org/women.

From the Heartland affiliate in Little Rock comes word that the association spent about $389 million during fiscal year 2001-02 on research support, professional education and community programs. The organization includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters who carry out its mission across the country.

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