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Wear Red Day' calls attention to heart disease in women

January 25, 2019

Go Red patrons together forming a heart with their hands on a staircase at UHS VestalFebruary is American Heart Month, and UHS is participating in a big way in the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" nationwide campaign, which underscores the importance of recognizing women's unique heart attack symptoms.

The Feb. 1 event also raises public awareness about congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the world.

On "Wear Red Day," a major event held on the first Friday each February, organizers at the American Heart Association urge people of all ages and walks of life to wear red for the day in support of the women in their lives - their wives, daughters, mothers, sisters and others.

To advance the cause, UHS will join forces with the American Heart Association for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 1, at UHS Vestal, 4417 Vestal Parkway East.

A heart attack and open heart surgery patient will tell the story of her personal journey to cardiac rehabilitation and wellness, and UHS health experts will offer insights into disease prevention and treatment.

Members of the community are invited to wear something red, such as a shirt, blouse, dress, scarf, sweater, jacket, tie or pocket handkerchief - or, for that matter, turn out all in red! - and attend the event.

Woman holding her baby wearing a red hat for Go Red DayPlus, parents are encouraged to dress their babies in red and bring them to the ceremony. Participants will receive a free, crocheted red hat for the babies and red heart pins for other members of the family. (Call 763-6722 to register.)

Tiny hats are crocheted each year by community volunteers, then presented to babies born at UHS Wilson Medical Center and UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital during February.

"Wearing something red on this particular day is becoming a popular tradition around the country," 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."

For many years, there was a public perception that heart disease was primarily a man's problem. Yet it has become increasingly clear that it's also a significant medical issue for women.

An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases, and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.

But thanks to better medical research, better communication between doctor and patient and the success of campaigns like “Go Red for Women" and "Wear Red Day," knowledge is increasing and attitudes are changing.

Women are becoming more aware that their heart attack symptoms may differ from those of men, and many are more alert to calling 911 if they experience anything unusual. For example, in addition to - or in the absence of - chest pain, a woman is more likely to experience pain in the back, neck, jaw or stomach; have nausea or lighheadedness; or break out in a cold sweat.

UHS is the heart leader in Greater Binghamton. Patients benefit from the expertise of the region's top cardiologists and cardiac surgeons, and from the latest in diagnostic and treatment technologies.

UHS has been addressing patients needs in heart and vascular care since first bringing open heart surgery to the Southern Tier in the 1980s. Now UHS Wilson Medical Center offers the latest in minimally invasive surgery and is highly rated for the quality of care provided.

Watch "Just a Little Heart Attack" PSA from the American Heart Association below: