MANHASSET, NY – To increase awareness about women’s risk for heart disease and prevention efforts, the North Shore-LIJ Health System today marked the “Go Red for Women” campaign with a special program held at North Shore University Hospital to coincide with the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 10th annual National Wear Red Day to show support for women’s heart health.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, claiming the lives of an estimated 240,000 females each year. Heart disease and stroke are the cause of 500,000 deaths in women annually.
The event, which was presented to more than 150 healthcare professionals in the hospital’s auditorium and teleconferenced to hundreds of employees at North Shore-LIJ hospitals in the metropolitan area, educated staff about gender differences regarding heart disease and risks among women. The program also focused on empowering women to make healthy lifestyle changes to help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A highlight of the event was an original performance by the Hofstra University modern dancers, who creatively expressed the struggle of heart disease and people’s triumph over it. The dance was in honor of the troupe’s professor and choreographer, Niles Ford, who died of a heart attack last January at age 52.
Committed to educating communities about ways to improve women’s heart health, North Shore-LIJ is the AHA Cities Go Red sponsor of the movement across all five boroughs as well as Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“We know that more women in this country die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined, yet too few women consider cardiac disease a major health concern,” said Stacey Rosen, MD, vice president for clinical services at the Katz Institute for Women’s Health, and a member of AHA’s Long Island Board of Directors. Dr. Rosen noted that only 56 percent of women correctly identified heart disease as the number one cause of death among females in the US. “In women, heart disease is too often a silent killer in which heart attack symptoms are not as pronounced as they are in men, and women are more likely to delay immediate treatment,” Dr. Rosen said.
During the program, Joyce Lenard, 77, of Syosset, shared her dramatic story of heart disease when she was celebrating her grandson’s bar mitzvah about six years ago. “Somewhere between the salad and the main course, I started feeling some chest pain but I thought it was indigestion,” said Ms. Lenard. By the end of the evening, Ms. Lenard had excruciating chest pain, thought she was having a heart attack and drove herself to LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park. She was diagnosed with stress cardiomyopathy, often known as “broken heart syndrome” because it can be linked to emotions triggered by a death or grief. Though in Ms. Lenard’s case, her episode was brought on by happy emotions, but at the time, she also worked a high-level, full-time job, coupled with other stressors in her life that contributed toward her condition. Reminding women in the audience, Ms. Lenard emphasized: “Don’t neglect your symptoms and learn how to manage your stress.”
“Go Red for Women encourages women to take charge of their heart health through early identification of modifiable risk factors and by making small changes that are within their control, such as maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and not smoking,” said Dr. Rosen.
Jessica DiMeo, American Heart
Association (516) 450-1011