By Justin Jones, Staff Writer
Friday, February 1, 2013 —
Heart disease has been found to be the leading cause of death of women in the United States. This Friday, the American Heart Association’s national Wear Red Day will try to raise awareness about the dangers of heart disease.
Locally, Stanly Regional Medical Center is participating in Wear Red Day, encouraging people in the area, particularly women, to wear red. The American Heart Association has reached out to schools, businesses and health care providers in the Charlotte area to do the same.
According to Stanly Regional and the American Heart Association, heart disease causes one out of three deaths in women, averaging one death per minute across the country.
Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist Dr. David Beard knows the statistics, but says it doesn’t have to be so prevalent. One of the quickest fixes, he said, is exercise.
“I’m talking about just 30 minutes of walking five times a week. That’s all you need, and we can’t get people to do that,” Beard said.
Beard mentioned several factors that have contributed to the rise in heart disease.
“We typically eat a lot more meat and fat compared to other people in the world,” he said.
“And we have the epidemic of obesity. Something close to over 50 percent of people are overweight.
“Coronary disease, it’s a disease of the elderly. We see it in young people but as our population gets older, there’s more and more people with coronary disease.”
Beard said signs of a heart condition may vary, but it typically could come in the form of chest pains or shortness of breath, particularly following routine activities such as walking up stairs.
Pain that surfaces and quickly goes away after the activity could identify a problem.
“If you have chest discomfort that is different than anything you had before, you need to get that checked out,” Beard said.
Beard said it’s important that people regularly see their physician, especially if they have multiple risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity or use tobacco. What they’ll hear at their personal doctor could mirror Beard’s advice of healthier eating choices and exercise.
“That’s what we don’t emphasize enough is get active,” he said.
“Thirty minutes of uninterrupted exercise. Just be purposeful in becoming more active.”
In Charlotte, the color red may cover the city on Friday.
That’s the hope of AHA’s Charlotte area Director of Marketing and Communications Lynn Grayson. She said the American Heart Association has a variety of events where people can get involved by way of donation and awareness for heart disease.
Grayson said the color is great to raise awareness about heart disease, but the color does more than create an event for a day.
“Since this movement has started, it’s saved approximately 627,000 women’s lives,” she said.
“People who do go red are more likely to make healthy choices by trying to lose weight, increase exercise and watch their numbers. Knowing what your cholesterol is and knowing those blood pressure numbers are key to having a heart healthy life.”
Grayson said the Wear Red movement by the American Heart Association has saved lives because taking those steps helps women beat the disease in which most cases are preventable.
“Although it is the number one killer, it is 80 percent preventable. So if you do those things like go to the doctor, exercise and change your diet, you can be a part in changing that statistic,” Grayson said.
The American Heart Association has events planned throughout the year, including the culminating luncheon May 16. More information on the luncheon can be found at www.heart.org/charlottencgore dluncheon.
The website goredforwomen.org is stocked with information on Wear Red Day, including charts for nutrition, exercise and promotional posters.