Woodward, Okla. —
With February being American Heart Month, Woodward Regional Hospital will be hosting a "Love Your Heart" event on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria.
The quarterly Healthy Woman event will focus on promoting heart health conscious decisions in women's lives. It is held as part of the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" movement.
"We're encouraging everyone in attendance to wear red as part of the Go Red for Women movement," Woodward Regional Hospital Marketing Director Lori Messenger said.
According to goredforwomen.org, in 2003 cardiovascular disease claims the lives of nearly 500,000 women in the United States each year. In 2004, the AHA created the Go Red For Women movement, which is described as a passionate social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health by promoting awareness of the dangers of cardiovascular disease.
"Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the US," Messenger said. "A lot of people think about men having heart attacks, but it actually affects a lot of women as well."
Thursday's Healthy Woman event will be led by cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Sparling.
"Primarily we're focusing on women's heart health," Sparling said, noting that he plans to discuss "how women can exhibit signs of cardiovascular disease different from men, as well as signs of disease and stroke, and general statistics about heart disease in women in the US, as well as statistics specific to Oklahoma, and even Woodward if I can find the numbers."
In national terms, Sparling said Oklahoma "stacks up very poorly, usually in the bottom 5 nation wide. That's been a focus of the State Health Department's efforts over a number of years now."
Sparling said while steps are being attempted to combat heart disease in Oklahoma, progress is slow.
Sparling said he would also go over the symptoms of a heart attack, which include pain or pressure in the center of the chest, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, radiating pain to shoulder, neck, back, arm, or jaw, abnormal heart rhythm, upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or severe indigestion, sweating, dizziness with weakness, and sudden extreme fatigue. Sparling will also cover some of the more untraditional symptoms women experience during heart attack such as sleep disturbances, indigestion, and anxiety.
He will also talk about ways to avoid cardiovascular disease.
"Smoking cessation is obviously the most important, as well as early and aggressive cholesterol screening and treatment, first with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, and then with medication," Sparling said. "Healthy living, diet, and exercise can really modify one's chances of heart disease."
Sparling's presentation won't be the only feature of the evening. Messenger also said heart conscious snacks will be a part of the evening.
"We're offering healthy snacks and we'll make those recipes available to the women who attend," Messenger said. "We'll have dips made from Greek yogurt as well as parfait and a few other things."
Messenger said the first 50 people to arrive to the event dressed in red will receive a Red Dress pin from AHA.
"It's going to be a nice evening," Messenger said. "Dr. Sparling is great speaker, he spoke for us last year, there will be great food, everyone will really enjoy the evening."
Sparling will also speak to the Senior Circle group the following day (Friday) about heart health at 9 a.m. in the hospital's cafeteria.
"With seniors I tend to focus a little more on healthy lifestyles and what seniors can do in their own lives to continue to remain physically active, which is very important," Sparling said. "Oftentimes they chock up not feeling well to old age, and I spend a lot of time counseling my own patients that thats not necessarily the case. A lot of times things people chock up to old age are actually signs of cardiovascular disease."
Messenger said Senior Circle group is for individuals of age 50 or above.