WEAR RED DAY: Raising awareness about heart health

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Cardiovascular disease kills more women each year than all kinds of cancer combined.

However, an American Heart Association survey showed that only 44 percent of women know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America.

“It’s Go Red Columbia Day in Columbia. We’re basically celebrating women’s heart health,” said Anukkeh Chandler, public relations specialist for the City of Columbia.

Among females 20 and older, nearly 45 percent are living with cardiovascular disease of some sort according to the American Heart Association.

“Women have a very high rate of having heart disease,” Chandler said.

In fact, one in three deaths each year among women is due to heart disease.

That’s why Cooperative Health staff were on site at the Charles Drew Wellness Center giving screenings as well as advice on how to improve your heart health.

“We are out in the community today to make sure that everyone knows their numbers. What is your blood pressure? What is your blood glucose? If you don’t know your numbers are high, you don’t know that you need to fix them,” said Ashley Stevens, Cooperative Health nurse educator.

The American Heart Association reminds people that cholesterol levels and body mass index are also important numbers to know in addition to blood pressure and glucose levels.

“I’ve been working really hard to bring them down so I was very happy today that I met my goal,” said Columbia resident Felicia Maloney.

But what do you do if your numbers are high?

“Just eat a healthy diet. Get a good exercise in, even if it’s walking for 20 or 30 minutes a day,” Stevens said.

Maloney says those two tips have helped her get her glucose level down.

“They said that the work I’ve been doing was showing in the results that I got today and to keep up the good work,” Maloney said.

There are other things you can do to help your heart health such as quit smoking, consume less caffeine and alcohol, make sure to get enough sleep and keep your stress levels low.

“There are tons of things you can do to destress your life or calm down. Take yoga classes, exercise or whatever it takes to get your blood pressure down on your own,” Stevens advises. “At times that’s not enough and you need to go to your doctor for medication.”

As part of Wear Red Day, Cooperative Health was offering blood pressure and glucose checks. Heart health is not just important for women, but men as well.

“Down here in the South, heart disease is the number one killer for us and in the United States as well for the last,” Stevens said. “It’s a big deal no matter what your sex is.”

The American Heart Association also reports that 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease. It’s not all bad news, as it also claims that 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases and preventable. 

Categories: Local News, Richland