PARKERSBURG - Education and wellness were at the forefront on Friday as more than 100 women gathered for the Go Red for Women luncheon at Camden Clark Medical Center's Memorial Campus.
"In recent years, through research and a lot of awareness, we have learned how heart disease affects women as there are differences in how women and men are affected," said Allison Maher, registered nurse director of cardiovascular services at Camden Clark Medical Center.
Maher listed how heart disease and heart attacks are different between the sexes, which included stiffness in the neck and jaw as well as nausea.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Allison Maher, registered nurse director of cardiovascular services at Camden Clark Medical Center, speaks about the difference in heart disease between men and women during the Go Red for Women luncheon at the Memorial Campus on Friday.
"Women often think that a heart attack is all about pain in the chest, but that just is not true," she said.
It is important for women to understand they are at risk for developing heart disease and like complications because it is thought of as a man's disease, Maher told the crowd.
"One myth is that women think they can't have heart disease because they don't have symptoms and that just is not true," she said. "Sixty-four percent of women who die suddenly of heart disease had no previous symptoms."
According to the American Heart Association, one in three women will die of heart disease, while 8 million women currently live with heart disease and 500,000 of those will suffer a heart attack.
"Of those half-a-million women who have a heart attack, 42 percent of them will die within a year from complications of heart disease," Maher said.
Women in attendance of the event wore red sweaters, shirts and scarves in support of the campaign that encourages women to take steps to decrease their chances of developing heart disease. The Go Red for Women campaign was designed to create awareness in women of heart disease and stroke. Stroke is the number three killer of women in the United States.
"We hold this luncheon and participate in Go Red for Women in February because it is a month all about hearts," said Kathy Eddy, vice chairman of the Camden Clark Medical Center Board of Directors. "This month is an incredibly right time to be committed to heart health."
Three of the hospital's cardiologists and head of cardiovascular services spoke before the crowd to give statistics and advice.
"It is very important that we raise awareness and educate women in how to live healthier lives," Maher said.
Four things women can do to decrease their chance of developing heart disease are eat healthy, be physically active, do not smoke and keep a healthy weight, Maher said.
"Smoking increases the risk of heart disease by 50 percent," said Dr. Chris Miller, interventional cardiologist with CCMC. "Not smoking is the number one thing to do to prevent heart disease."