By Tamara Tellis/Staff Writer
According to the website womenheart.org, it is estimated that 42 million American women live with heart disease.
Many of these women, however, are unaware of the threat the disease places on their lives. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women – a statistic that many women don’t know exists.
In collaboration with American Heart Association, Gadsden Regional Medical Center presented its 8th Annual Go Red for Women Dinner and Fashion show on Feb.9 at Convention Hall in Gadsden. Along with providing an entertaining evening, the Go Red campaign was established to inform women and help them make choices to improve their heart health and lower their risk of heart disease and stroke.
Six hundred women, all dressed in red, attended the event and enjoyed fun, food, fashion, goodie bags and giveaways. FOX6 News anchor Janice Roger served as hostess for the evening, provided the women with a lots of laughter and a few encouraging words.
“We all need to choose to live better,” said Rogers. “I know I do, because every day we make choices. Some choices are kind of unimportant, some are life changing but what if these choices we thought were small are actually what mattered. And we are talking about things like, the stairs or the elevator; baked or fried. What if it meant that you were the one woman in every three to die of heart disease this year?
American Heart Association, Greater Southeast Affiliate Regional Director Leah O’Gwynn shared some good news and bad news with the attendees.
“The bad news is that heart disease is the number one killer of women. The good news is that the majority of it is largely preventable. By seeing 600 of you being here, gathering and learning, 600 of you have your lives changed.”
The evening guest speaker was GRMC Cardiologist Darryl Prime, M.D., who gave the women tips on how to live a healthier life by eating right and exercising. He also showed side by side food options and the amount of exercise it would take to burn it off.
“The month of February is National Heart Disease and Stroke month,” said Dr. Prime. “Go Red for Women celebrates the energy and passion where women have the power to stand together and wipe out heart disease and stroke. It challenges women to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce this personal risk. It also gives them the tools they need to lead a heart healthy life.
“Only 55 percent of women, and when we started only 2 percent, realized that heart disease is the number one killer. Less than half know what is considered healthy levels for cardiovascular factors including high blood pressure levels and high cholesterol.”
Among women who become involved in the Go Red campaign, more than 40 precent have lost weight, more than half increased their exercise, six out of 10n changed their diet and 53 percent had their cholesterol levels changed.
The Go Red fashion show emcee was Gadsden State Community College Public Relations Director Kay Smith-Foster. The clothing for the show was provided by Belk (located in Gadsden Mall), Caiston Elle (located in the Gadsden Mall), Jireh’s (located at 546 Broad Street in downtown Gadsden) and Polka Dots and Pearls (located at 538 Broad Street in downtown Gadsden). Fashions were modeled by models from around the area.
Proceeds from Go Red ticket and t-shirt sales benefit American Heart Association.