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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Go Red For Women


Go Red for Women addresses cardiovascular disease in women.

Understanding the risk of cardiovascular disease

While the American Heart Association celebrates its centennial, Go Red for Women turns 20.

Since 2004, Go Red for Women has addressed the awareness and clinical care gaps of women’s greatest health threat: cardiovascular disease.

Kevin Koch, new Northwest Louisiana development director, stresses the organization hasn’t made its achievements alone.

“We reach our goals working with organizations and individuals who share our vision for better health,” he said.

This year’s event will be on Tuesday, May 21, at the Shreveport Convention Center. As part of the health expo before the luncheon, CHRISTUS will be doing hands-only CPR demonstrations, blood pressure screenings, glucose testing, cholesterol and metabolic syndrome education and will have the in-body scanner and review of results by a clinician. Doors open at 10 a.m., with lunch following. Shantel Hardison will tell her survivor story.

Koch said 45 percent of women over age 20 are living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Using data from 2017 to 2020, the prevalence of stroke was 5.4 million females vs. 4 million males.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of maternal death in the U.S. It can pose a threat to women’s heart health during pregnancy and later in life, making it important that women understand how to care for themselves and their baby, Heart Association information shows.

The majority of cardiovascular events can be prevented with lifestyle changes and education, Koch said.

Through media, events, storytelling and digital platforms, the Heart Association raises awareness. Survivors, health experts, celebrities and CEOs help carry the message to help women understand their risk so they can fight back against heart disease and stroke.

Women continue to be underrepresented — and underfunded — in both research and STEM fields, Koch said. Efforts are being made to increase funding and research in women. A woman is less likely to receive CPR from a bystander than a man, and men have 23% higher odds of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest than women. People are more afraid to touch women.

Currently, the American Heart Association is funding research awards in Louisiana totaling $3.5 million.

Women are 38 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event when experiencing high work stress. In fact, work stress is about as risky as secondhand smoke.

Go Red for Women supports a provision to prohibit insurance companies from charging women higher premiums than men for the same health insurance coverage.

Go Red for Women is in more than 50 countries across the globe.

Approximately 225 schools in Louisiana participate in the Kids Heart Challenge, which is aimed to deliver heart-healthy, physical activity through service learning for the American Heart Association. In the 2022-2023 school year, more than 119,882 students went home with heart-healthy information to share with their families and friends.

May is Stroke Awareness Month, and the Heart Association does work in tandem with stroke education, risk factors and supporting resources, Koch said.

Go Red tickets are $100, or $2,500 for a table of eight. Visit www.heart.org/nwlagored to purchase or for more information or email kevin.koch@heart.org.

Also for your calendar, Saturday, Oct. 19, is the date for the annual Heart Walk. It will begin at 8 a.m. at Festival Plaza.


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