With the sweet sounds of a harp in the background, women wearing their favorite hues of red are taking a stand against the nation’s leading cause of death for females.
“I think in the past heart disease was thought of as a man’s disease, and so we lost a lot of women along the way. But now because of initiatives such as ‘Go Red,’ we’re paying attention to the hearts of women and I think we’re getting incredible results,” said Dr. Nidhi Kumar, a cardiologist and the director of women’s health at Saint Peter’s University Hospital.
On this national Go Red for Women day, Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick unveiled an interactive health village, familiarizing women with their heart health through a holistic approach.
“Heart disease is a reality for many women. One in three women in the United States will die of heart disease, so it’s a reality for all of us, but it’s very preventable,” said Kumar.
Preventable, but prevalent. Roughly 44 million women are affected by cardiovascular disease in the U.S., killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.
“I think it’s great. I mean I’m very concerned about my health. I eat very healthy, take tons of vitamins and my health, thank God, is excellent,” said Ana Rocci of Metuchen.
Rocci visited the health village for a vascular massage, and decided to stay for the free cooking demos provided by Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen.
“[The recipes are] very simple and healthy, and that’s what we want to keep people living longer,” said Pam Johnson, the manager and a chef at Elijah’s Promise.
“I notice through my career and practice a lot of women keep going and going without paying attention to their own health and they always tough it out, and unfortunately many things could have been caught and prevented from the early stage,” said Tong Ren, an ICU nurse at Saint Peter’s University Hospital.
That’s why Ren is taking advantage of free screenings.
“I know I’ve been told I’m pre-diabetic. For the last year, my hemoglobin was borderline and that’s what’s kept me worried all this time,” said Ren.
The good news is 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented just through education and lifestyle changes, which is why having community health screenings are so important.
“I’m talking about their blood pressure, their weight, their cholesterol levels. You need to know those numbers the way you know your phone number. That way if there’s an issue, you can address it before it becomes a problem,” said Kumar.
Because good health doesn’t happen in a vacuum, on “Go Red Day” and every day, it takes a village.