Today, Feb. 7, is designated as “Go Red for Women” day by the American Heart Association – a day to wear red attire to heighten awareness about the issue of heart disease in women.
It’s a cause that’s near and dear to the heart of Michele Foreman, RN, BSN, coordinator of Mercy Cardiac Rehab in Independence.
“It seems only natural to celebrate this day, not only because I’m a woman, but also because I support the education efforts of the AHA,” said Foreman.
Statistics show that more women die from heart disease than all forms of cancer. One in every four female deaths is attributed to heart disease. Heart disease, in fact, is the leading cause of death for everyone in the United States. Despite increased awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number one killer, said Foreman.
What’s even scarier is almost 64% of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have NO previous symptoms.
“You have to know your risk factors!” said Foreman, noting high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease and about 49% of Americans have at least one of these. There are other lifestyle choices and medical conditions that can put people at a higher risk, she explained, including:
• Overweight and obesity
• Poor diet
• Physical inactivity
• Excessive alcohol use
Next week, February 9-15, is observed as Cardiac Rehab Week. Mercy Cardiac Rehab, located in the Mercy Clinic at 800 W. Laurel, has been in operation since Dec. 1, 2004. There have been more than 650 patient visits in that time period. Cardiac Rehab clients have portable heart monitors to evaluate exercise tolerance, with the main component of rehab being education and awareness of their coronary artery disease. From that education, clients increase their confidence level in resuming previous activity levels.
“I love my job, and get really attached to my patients,” said Foreman. “But I also have to let them go at the end of their rehab, and I feel good knowing they’re ready to take on the world again.”
More information on Mercy Cardiac Rehab services is available by calling 620-330-8248.