Raising Awareness of Women's Heart Health at Bassett

February 1, 2015

goredOn Friday, Feb. 6, Bassett Medical Center celebrated the 11th anniversary of its Go Red for Women program, an annual staff event designed to encourage employees to take care of their own health.

Marjorie Miller, R.T., respiratory therapist at Bassett Medical Center, offered motivational words about her own experience with heart disease. “I had a finger-poking sensation in the middle of my chest,” she said. “No pain, no nausea. Still, I felt something was wrong.”

The audience applauded as Miller emphasized the importance of listening to one’s own body. “You know your body better than anyone else,” she said. “Pay attention to any abnormal signs, no matter how small. They could be early warning signs of something more serious.”

The event, launched by Bassett Medical Center Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bertine McKenna, Ph.D., coincides every year with the American Heart Association’s National Wear Red Day and Go Red for Women campaign – all part of an effort that began over a decade ago to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

“When we established this annual event 11 years ago, I wanted our employees to be aware of the impact of heart disease on women,” said McKenna. “The event is part of the organization’s overall wellness efforts to encourage staff to do all they can to be as healthy as possible.”

Dr. John Kelley, director of Bassett Heart Care Institute and division chief of cardiac surgery, offered the audience insight and statistics related to women’s heart health. “Heart disease is more likely to be a silent disease in women,” he said. “When heart attack symptoms do arise, they are less apparent. Many women experience indigestion, heartburn, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, shortness of breath, or general upper body discomfort.”

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms. An estimated 43 million women are affected by heart disease in the U.S.

“We encourage employees to take charge of their own health. Everyone should know their risk factors and numbers and take steps to control such things as blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and similar health measures,” McKenna said.

Bassett held its 11th annual Go Red Event in the Clark Auditorium at Bassett Medical Center, and employees celebrated women’s heart health Super Bowl-style. The program, entitled “Kicking Off Your Heart Health,” featured a number of healthy heart “commercials” created by Bassett teams.

The audience went home with informational handouts on heart disease prevention and risk factors.

Bassett’s Go Red Event would not have been possible without the support of Five Star Subaru of Oneonta and Sodexo.

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One Atwell Road Cooperstown, NY 13326

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