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Crowd of red supports women's heart health

February 01, 2019

Oxford resident Ann Marie Markovich advised women to take heart attack symptoms seriously and act quickly. She stressed the importance of getting regular checkups and following their providers' recommendations for a lifetime of good heart health.

Last year Mrs. Markovich experienced a heart attack, underwent successful bypass surgery and today is a committed member of Cardiac Rehabilitation at UHS. She 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 Mrs. Markovich and Mr. Carrigg, other speakers were Daniel Beckles, MD, a cardiac and thoracic surgeon at the UHS Heart & Vascular Institute; and Gina Chapman, Southern Tier regional director of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Beckles said that women and men should listen to their hearts, and understand while there are many similarities between symptoms of heart diseases in men and women, the differences are even more pronounced.

"One of the most important actions any of us can take is to become more knowledgeable about our heart health," he said. "Thanks to observances such as this one today, women in the Southern Tier and nationwide are increasing their understanding of heart disease and its unique implications."

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. 

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 crocheting 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.

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