Crowd in red supports women's heart health
Southern Tier resident Kimberly Quick Feb. 2 advised women to get regular checkups and follow their providers' recommendations for a lifetime of good heart health.
"Sometimes you really don't know your true condition," she told a crowd gathered for "National Wear Red Day" at UHS Vestal. "By following through with the right medical care, I have been able to do really well. It's been a miracle."
Ms. Quick, a former heart surgery patient, was the featured speaker at the "Wear Red" ribbon-cutting ceremony, an event designed to call attention to the cause of women's heart health.
Part of the nationwide "Go Red for Women" campaign, the annual ceremony is presented by UHS in conjunction with the American Heart Association.
"Wearing something red today is becoming a popular tradition around the country as we celebrate the start of American Heart Month each February," said John Carrigg, president and chief executive officer of UHS. "This observance has encouraged patients, their family members, providers, hospitals and the public to renew their understanding of the early warning signs of heart attack and other heart conditions among women."
Continuing, he noted: "Moreover, it has drawn attention to the unique symptoms of heart disease in women, and to the latest advances, strategies and clinical responses that are saving lives."
In addition to Ms. Quick and Mr. Carrigg, other speakers were Kristen Lewis, a family nurse practitioner at the UHS Heart & Vascular Institute; Keyoor Patel, DO, a cardiologist with the institute; and Gina Chapman, Southern Tier regional director of the American Heart Association.
Dr. Patel said that women and men should listen to their hearts, and take steps to live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
"Sustainable lifestyle changes are achieved by a gradual process of setting and meeting short-term, realistic goals," he said. "Once you experience success, it's likely to snowball, in a good way, and your positive changes will be more likely to last."
Ms. Lewis cautioned women to take heart symptoms seriously.
"Although men and women can experience pressure that feels like an elephant sitting on the chest, women can have a heart attack without chest pressure," she noted.
A large number of people - decked out in red sweaters, blouses, scarves and ties - turned out for the "Wear Red" event in the Lobby at UHS Vestal.
Five mothers brought their babies to show off the warm little hats that had been crocheted for the newborns.
"Little Hats, Big Hearts" is an effort to raise heart-disease awareness, with volunteers in the community chrocheting red hats for babies each year.
The donated hats are then presented to babies born during American Heart Month at UHS Wilson Medical Center and UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital.
See the video and photos from the press conference on the UHS Facebook page below: