Southern California

LA Goes Red for Women in Fight Against Heart Disease

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will hold its 12th annual Linda Joy Pollin Women's Heart Health Day Friday as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness about heart disease -- the leading killer of women.

The event coincides with the 15th annual National Wear Red Day, with hundreds of Cedars-Sinai employees and guests dressing in red to demonstrate support for heightened awareness of heart disease risk factors and increased public education about gender differences in heart disease.

"Our goal is to train our employees to help fight heart disease, so that they can better serve our community," said Margo Minnissian, a nurse practitioner at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "In the past year, we've conducted 350 screenings on women to determine their heart disease risk and we want to continue to do more in the future."

The hospital recommends women get screened and understand their heart disease risk numbers, so they are better prepared if any health concerns may arise in their futures.

The event will begin with classes on fitness, meditation and Reiki, a Japanese relaxation technique that promotes stress reduction and well being. A panel discussion about new medical discoveries in women's health will follow.

The American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have been holding National Wear Red Day annually on the first Friday in February since 2003 in an attempt to raise awareness about heart disease being the leading killer of women and about women's heart health.

Although heart disease has killed more U.S. women than men since 1984, most medical research has been focused exclusively on men and women are largely unaware that they are at risk, according to Sally Stewart of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

A survey by the American Heart Association found that only one in five American women believes that heart disease is the greatest threat to their health.

Research has shown that men and women often experience different forms of heart disease. Men who experience heart attacks often feel a tingling in their left arm and chest pain while women's symptoms may include extreme fatigue, nausea and back pain, Stewart said.

Other events taking place include the LA Galaxy's Heart Health Day event, which will be hosting a clinic on Feb. 3 to inform young girls about heart disease risks.The Little Hats, Big Hearts program with the American Heart Association, will also be raising awareness for women's heart disease by handing out red hand-knitted caps to babies in LA County hospitals all throughout the month of February.

Companies hosting their own events to raise awareness for women's heart disease include Southern California Gas, OPI, Pharmavite and Union Bank, among others.

NBC4's Marina Peña contributed to this story.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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