WVU helps make life heart healthy for women on Go Red day

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – You might have been seeing red if you visited WVU Hospitals on Feb. 6. Red temporarily took the limelight from West Virginia University’s gold and blue when WVU doctors, nurses and staff gathered to offer free health screenings and raise awareness about heart disease in women. 

“Go Red for Women” is an initiative of the American Heart Association. Wearing red is a reminder for women to take care of their health, particularly as it relates to the No. 1 killer of women: heart disease.

“It’s of paramount importance that we raise awareness,” said Claudette Brooks, M.D., a neurologist and director of the Stroke Clinic in the National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health at WVU.  “Women have a tendency to worry more about gynecological cancers and breast cancer than about heart disease and stroke. But heart disease and stroke are two diseases that are somewhat preventable by modifying your diet, exercising and not smoking.”

Claudette Brooks, M.D., left; student Rebecca Targoff gives blood pressure check to Georgia Narsavage, Ph.D., R.N., dean of the WVU School of Nursing.

As part of the Go Red event, the WVU Hospitals west lobby was given over to free screenings for blood pressure and body fat. Heart disease risk assessments were also offered, along with demonstrations on stationary bikes showing how to measure one’s target heart rate.

West Virginia is high on the list of states in terms of the number of women who die from heart disease.  West Virginia women also rank higher than women in most other states for risk factors such as high blood pressure, obesity and smoking.

“It’s important for women not to think of heart disease as just a man’s disease,” said Laura Davisson, M.D., clinic director for the National Center for Excellence in Women’s Health at WVU.  “It’s important for women to know that they can reduce their risk by knowing what their blood pressure is, knowing what their body mass index is, knowing what their cholesterol levels are – and then taking steps to improve those numbers if they are not where they’d like them.”

The mission of the Center of Excellence in Women’s Health is to provide comprehensive healthcare for women by promoting research in women’s health issues and reaching out to improve the health and well being of West Virginia women.

Friday’s event was also sponsored by the Wellness Program of the WVU Health Sciences campus and the American Heart Association
For information on the National Center for Excellence in Women’s Health at WVU see http://www.wvhealthywomen.org/.

For information on The Wellness Program see www.hsc.wvu.edu/wellnesss.

For information on the American Heart Association see www.americanheart.org.


For more information:
Andrea Brunais, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
ab: 2-05-09

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