Friday, February 8, 2013

Going red for heart health


HEALTHY HEARTS: Staff members set up the heart health booth at the MGH Chelsea HealthCare Center on Feb. 5.n

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), only one in five women believe that heart disease is her greatest threat. However, it is the No. 1 killer of American women and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. It causes one in three deaths each year – about one woman every minute.

Prevention, early detection and prompt treatment are key to changing these statistics. To help with this mission, the MGH teamed up with the AHA’s Go Red for Women campaign to present a series of heart health events in recognition of February as American Heart Month. The events feature information about heart and vascular health, stress reduction, diabetes, smoking cessation and relationship safety. Blood pressure screenings and body mass index measurements are available, as well as education materials for staff, patients and visitors.

“Together, heart disease, stroke and other diseases of the heart and blood vessels are responsible for
35 percent of all deaths in Massachusetts,” said Kathleen Miller, RN, PhD, director of the MGH Wellness Center, a service of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, which is hosting the events along with the
MGH Institute for Health Professions. “As with men, the most common heart attack symptom for women is chest pain or discomfort. But, it’s important to note that women are more likely to experience other symptoms – particularly shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain. It is vital they call 911
and get to a hospital right away.”

As part of the program’s education outreach, the group also worked with Market Basket in Chelsea to insert some 8,000 information cards about women’s heart health into grocery bags for distribution on Feb. 14. 

The heart health events will continue this month from noon to 1 pm on Feb. 12 at MGH Revere HealthCare Center; Feb. 14 at North End Waterfront Health; Feb. 19 at the MGH Charlestown HealthCare Center; and Feb. 26 at Everett Family Care. For more information, call the MGH Wellness Center at (781) 485-6400.  

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