News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 6, 2014

Women go red today for heart health

TERRE HAUTE — Today is National Wear Red Day, and employees at Providence Medical Group plan to wear red “love your heart” T-shirts to heighten awareness about heart disease, the No. 1 killer of women in the United States.

The event ties in with the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign, a nationwide, month-long effort aimed at saving lives and raising awareness about the issue.

On Thursday, Mayor Duke Bennett read a proclamation recognizing Friday as Go Red for Women Day.

According to Dr. Tony K. Nasser, a cardiologist at Providence Medical Group, “Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of not just men, but women, in the United States.” More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined, the AHA says in its literature.

At Providence Medical Group, “we’re trying to increase awareness not just by wearing red, but also by being a more active part of the community and getting our patients to become tested and be proactive with prevention and not just treatment for heart disease,” Nasser said.

  Today, the center will conduct a fundraising effort, enabling employees to wear jeans if they pay $5, which will go to the American Heart Association. They’ll also wear the red T-shirts and red pins.

The mayor praised the group for working to promote greater awareness about heart disease, a significant problem in the community and a disease that claimed his father’s life.

Bennett talked about his own initiative to do something each week that promotes fitness and wellness and “gets people to think more about being healthy.”

The AHA launched the Go Red for Women campaign in 2003, and the red dress has become the iconic symbol of its battle against heart disease in women.

Nasser said that half of the heart patients at Providence Medical Group are female. “Everyone thinks it’s just a male disease,” he said.

Heart attack signs can be different for women than men. While it can be the classic chest pain, women also experience jaw, neck and back discomfort, shortness of breath, fatigue and arm pain.

To help Providence Medical Group staff become healthier, employee Ashley McCallister started a “fit club” about five years ago. Participants do weigh-ins and measurements, walk at Deming Park and share healthy recipes.

At the end of 12 weeks, winners receive cash prizes, paid time off and gift certificates, with winners determined by weight and inches lost and by participation, said McCallister, who works in the cardiovascular medicine department.

For more information about heart disease and women, go to www.GoRed

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or

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