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Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Health officials wearing red to raise awareness

Friday, February 4, 2005

(Photo)
Jeanne Stalker, a registered nurse with the Scott County Health Department, takes the blood pressure of Erica Gray.
SIKESTON -- A tiny little red dress either in pin or sticker form is being used as a symbol across the nation today to remind women about the fight against their No. 1 killer -- heart disease.

Women employees at the Scott County Health Department in Sikeston each wore red scrubs to take part in the American Heart Association's "Go Red For Women" and "National Wear Red Day," which is today.

Brenda Freed, public health educator for the Scott County Health Department said she first learned of "Go Red" after attending a health education meeting.

"My mother-in-law died of heart disease so this really hits home with me and my family," Freed said.

Health department employees were passing out brochures on heart disease and red dress stickers.

About one of every 2.5 women die of heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular disease. Every year since 1984 more women than men have died of heat disease, stroke and other cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. The gap is increasing.

Scott County nurse practitioner Kay Griffin noted the health department does find hypertension in some of the annual exams conducted on women who are participating in family planning.

"When they have hypertension, we refer them to their physicians and talk about why it's important to get preventative care so they can catch it an early age and get something done before any damage is done," Griffin explained.

African-American and Mexican-American women have higher risks than white women of comparable economic status and older women who have heart attacks are more likely than men to die from them.

In addition, women and men share six risk factors: high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, being overweight and diabetes.

The American Heart Association recommends the following for better heart health:

-- Let each birthday remind you to make an appointment with your doctor to evaluate your risk factors. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked. Ask your doctor to help you reach or maintain a healthy weight.

-- If you smoke quit. Here's a 4-step way to stop your habit. Day 1 - cut the number of cigarettes you smoke in half. Day 3 - cut the number in half again. Day 5 - cut the number in half again. On your Quit Day, quit.

-- Get physical. Step, march or jog in place for at least 15 minutes a day while watching TV. Increase this exercise by five minutes each week until you're getting at least 30 minutes of this exercise most days of the week.

-- If you eat 200-300 calories (about one candy bar) less and exercise at least 30 minutes on at least five days of the week, you'll steadily get closer to your goal and you're more likely to keep the weight off. Avoid fad diets.

-- Keep track of your success in exercising, losing weight or quitting smoking. When you reach a goal, reward yourself by something you enjoy.