|Jessie Huff, coordinator for the area's Wear Red Day, works with volunteer Cathy Martinez. The event raised awareness of heart disease and stroke among women.|
Southeastern Utah District Health Department joined other communities and companies across the nation wearing Feb. 4 to support the American Heart Association's Wear Red Day event and increase awareness of heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 3 killers of women.
In addition, Gold Medal School faculty, Castleview Hospital staff and CEU staff were supplied with Red Dress Pins as well as educational information regarding women and heart disease.
"We're trying to change the idea that heart disease and stroke are just men's diseases." said Dave Cunningham, local health department health officer. "Many women may think they just don't need to worry about the diseases, but the truth is, heart disease and stroke kill more women than men in Utah."
Being overweight or obese, having high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes and smoking can increase the risk for heart disease and stroke. Women also can have different risk factors and warning signs than men do:
High blood pressure is common in women taking oral contraceptives, especially in obese and older women, than in women not taking them.
Fifty-seven percent of Utah women are overweight or obese.
More than a third of Utah women age 50 and older have been diagnosed with high cholesterol.
Women with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or stroke than women without diabetes.
Symptoms of heart attack for women are more likely to include pain or discomfort in other areas of the body besides the chest, such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Nausea is common too.
Southeastern Utah District Health Department is making efforts not only to educate women about changes they can make in their lifestyles, but also to make it easier for their families to include physical activity and nutrition in their daily routines. For example, SEUDHD's Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program is in their third year of working with the Utah Department of Health through their Physical Activity Grant Awards. The program has been actively involved with supplemental funding to Helper City for the Western Mining and Railroad Project; Carbon County Recreation for improvement to Spring Canyon Trail; Moab City to improve the Trail Mix Project; and Price City for improvements and development of the Price City Detention Basin Park Walking Trail.
SEUDHD is also supportive to many schools in the district whom are involved in the Gold Medal School Initiative; the program encourages policy and environmental changes within the school atmosphere to create opportunities for students and faculty to make healthier choices, be more physically active and to be smoke free.
For more information on risk factors and prevention and what you can do to stay healthy, visit http://www.hearthighway.org or http://www.americanheart.org/women.