Mount Sinai Celebrates Go Red for Women
Donning their best red, members of the Harlem community, Mount Sinai employees and television personality/author/American Heart Association National Volunteer/attorney Star Jones celebrated the AHA's 10th annual National Wear Red Day at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The festive fair, which kicked off Heart Health Awareness Month, featured diabetes education, nutrition counseling, healthy heart cooking and complimentary blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose testing.
"The Go Red for Women movement and National Wear Red Day is very personal for me, particularly here, because I was treated [for heart disease] at Mount Sinai," Jones explained. "This is where my care was taken to the next level. When I left the hospital, I felt like I had been given another chance."
That's when Star realized her purpose was clear: to support other women and raise awareness about prevention. "Women need to make heart disease prevention their priority and know that it's the No. 1 killer of women, affecting more than 43 million women in the U.S. My goal is to take this information and put it on the front burner of every woman's mind."
"National Wear Red Day is the visual event that emphasizes the importance of taking care of your heart. We take care of our kids and families, but when it comes to ourselves, we tend to brush off symptoms and postpone doctor appointments. But if your child came to you with these symptoms, you would move heaven and earth to fix him or her. We here today want women to love themselves enough to take care of their hearts and put their health first."
Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy
On hand at the event was Mary Ann McLaughlin, MD, who began her cardiology career as a candy striper at age 15, worked at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) as a research assistant, became an EMT in college and is now an award-winning cardiologist, Medical Director of the Cardiac Health Program, and Co-Director of the Women's Cardiac Assessment and Risk Evaluation Program. She noted that women as early in their 20s need to be aware of their heart health.
"We start building up fatty plaque in our early 20s. Every woman should know her family history of heart disease so she will know if it is a risk factor." Some other tips she offered include:
- Know your numbers: ask your doctor for all your vitals, including your cholesterol, body mass, blood pressure and glucose levels. Goals for numbers are:
- Total cholesterol: less than 200
- LDL (bad cholesterol): less than 100
- HDL (good cholesterol): greater than or equal to 40
- Triglycerides: less than 150
- Blood pressure: less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic
- Non-fasting glucose: less than 120
- Fasting glucose: less than 100
- Stay current: read as much literature as you can about heart disease to stay abreast of screening, treatments and risks.
- Reduce your salt intake: limit your consumption of processed foods to assist with heart disease prevention, as they are high in salt.
- Embrace regular exercise: inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease (CAD). Moderate cardio exercise done five days a week for 30 minutes a day or vigorously three days a week for 20 minutes is a critical component to keeping your heart healthy.
Lastly, trust your intuition. "Like Star said, don't downplay signs of heart trouble. Symptoms of a heart attack in women can be more subtle than men. These include shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea/indigestion, severe fatigue, arm pain and jaw pain. Listen closely to your heart, because it's the lifeblood of your body."