Luncheon raises awareness for heart disease in women

Published Friday, May 26, 2006

Red was the wardrobe color of choice Thursday at the Go Red for WomenLuncheon, held at the Conway Country Club.

Those who attended heard that awareness about heartdisease in women is up 20 percent in the past two years.

Laine Berry, former Mrs. Arkansas, was the chairman of the event. She said the American Heart Association started the event two years ago to raise awareness that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. Go Red for Women is part of an effort to make women aware that heart disease is not primarily a man's disease.

Berry said 486,000 women in Arkansas died from cardiovascular disease in 2004. Symptoms of heart disease are different for women than for men, and include nausea, back pain and chest pain. One in four women has some form of cardiovascular disease.

"It is an insidious disease, but it is primarily preventable," she said.

A handout from the American Heart Association suggested five ways for women to reduce their risk for heart disease. It suggested: Have a checkup each year (on your birthday to help you remember); step, march or jog in place for at least 30 minutes most days of the week (even while watching television); stop smoking in four steps (cut the number of cigarettes in half, then cut that number in half, cut it in half again and then cut down to zero); drop a few pounds by cutting out 200 to 300 calories per day; and cut back sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.

Missy Lewis, executive director of the American Heart Association, said two years ago only 35 percent of women knew that heart disease was their number one killer. Now that number is up to 55 percent, she said. She believes the Go Red for Women luncheons are a major factor in the dramatic increase in awareness.

Berry said, "Over half of women know, but 45 percent are left."

Go Red for Women Luncheons are held around the country. They are fund-raising events for the American Heart Association, and the money is earmarked for education and research for women and heart disease, Lewis said.


(Staff writer Rachel Parker may be reached by e-mail at rachel.parker @the or by phone at 505-1277.)

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