Heart disease in women can occur in the young and old, in seemingly healthy women as well as those with risk factors. The Westchester-Fairfield American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon on Friday, June 2nd put a face on women’s heart disease by sharing local survivors’ stories throughout the event. The Luncheon drew a crowd of more than 300 mostly women, dressed in the signature women and heart disease campaign color—red.
Guests heard inspiring survivor stories, and were educated about heart disease, risk factors and news of medical research and treatments to fight heart disease, all while raising funds to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign to fight women’s number one killer—heart disease.
Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year – more than all cancers combined. Almost two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.
But the American Heart Association (AHA) is seeking to change that with prevention and awareness through their Go Red For Women Luncheon, set for Friday, June 2nd from 10AM to 2PM, at the Hilton Westchester in Rye. Donations are still being accepted online at http://westfairgoredluncheon.heart.org/.
Kim Salveggi, 43, from Yorktown, and Christine Wayne, 37, of Stamford, CT were featured in a short film. Salveggi, a married mother of two teenage girls, suffered a coronary artery dissection in March of 2015. She was previously diagnosed with depression and hypochondria when symptoms of extreme exhaustion began in September 2014. When more classic heart attack symptoms of chest, jaw and arm pain set in, she feared that nobody would believe what she knew all along—something was seriously wrong. At the emergency room, doctors believed her, and she survived after a stent was inserted during emergency cardiac catheterization. She recently returned to work.
Christine Wayne survived sudden cardiac arrest in December of 2016. She felt tired all day and while in the shower, she began to cough and was overcome with exhaustion and nausea. She said did not want to call 9-1-1, as is recommended. What if someone saw her? Why incur the cost when someone could just come pick her up? When she began to have trouble breathing, she finally called her mother, who said to call 9-1-1.
Another moment’s delay and she might not have made it. On route in the ambulance, her heart stopped four times. She awoke to people counting and shouting “CLEAR!” At the hospital, two stents were put in, and was released after a week in the hospital. She is now back to her daily routine.
Both are advocates for Go Red For Women’s lifesaving messages to learn about, prevent and know the symptoms of heart attack in women. In the video, Salveggi implores women to second opinion and never stop advocating for your health. Wayne wants women to know the symptoms of heart attack and not be embarrassed to call the ambulance—minutes count.
The Go Red For Women Luncheon included a morning health and wellness exhibition featuring local health professionals, networking, and a keynote address by Mara Schiavocampo, an ABC News correspondent and author based in New York. Schiavocampo is a two-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, and best-selling author of, “THINspired,” her personal journey of losing 90 pounds after the birth of her daughter. She said at the event that prior to her lifestyle changes, including a diet overhaul, she used to eat almost exclusively prepared, pre-packaged food, which is typically high in calories, sodium and sugar.
“My definition of health at that time was the absence of illness,” she said.
Now, after her journey of health, she eats almost all fresh, home-cooked meals, including a variety of fruits, vegetables and healthy fish, and doesn’t feel deprived.
An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases, and 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke. The good news is 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. Small, incremental changes to lifestyle can go a long way in preventing these leading killers. Quitting smoking, exercising at least 30 minutes per day, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating more fruits and vegetables can help prevent heart disease and stroke. More information is available at GoRedForWomen.org.
Go Red For Women is sponsored Nationally by Macy’s, and locally by Signature Sponsor, Stamford Health. Other sponsors include Greenwich Hospital, Morgan Stanley, New York-Presbyterian, Fuji Film, White Plains Hospital, Buzz Creators, Healthcare News, Professional Women of Westchester, WHUD, Westchester Magazine, and ABC7.