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Go Red Goes North

Go Red Goes NorthArea women are being encouraged to take time out for themselves – and their hearts – when the ‘Go Red for Women’ campaign hits the Northern Miami Valley on Sept. 18.

A free ‘Go Red Goes North’ Expo is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Edison Community College, Piqua.

September is the perfect time for women to slow down and take a look at themselves, as children have headed back to school or college and the holidays are just around the corner.

Cris Peterson, director of the Go Red For Women for the American Heart Association, Miami Valley Division, said an array of activities are planned – such as chair massages, cooking demonstrations, a feel good-look good demonstration – to complement health testing and educational displays.

Breakout sessions will include an  ‘Ask the Doctor Q&A’ panel featuring UVMC cardiologists Cass Cullis, M.D.; William Czajka, M.D.; and Aaron Kaibas, D.O., an invasive cardiologist who joined Troy Cardiology this summer.

“There’s always going to be something going on,” Peterson said.  The day’s goals include raising women’s awareness of heart disease.

Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death in American women, causing nearly one death each minute, according to the American Heart Association.

“I still find so many women who don’t realize that or know about it, but don’t know what to do about it,” Peterson said.

Heart health is a serious issue for women, with more and younger women being seen for cardiac issues, said Jean Heath, Director of Cardiopulmonary Rehab at UVMC. 

Symptoms may include chronic fatigue, shortness of breath and “an overall feeling of  ‘I just don’t feel good but can’t put my finger on it,’” said Tami Maniaci McMillan, RN, MS, of the UVMC Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation unit.

Vicke Joerendt, 45, knows that feeling. 

The Huber Heights woman suffered a massive heart attack in May while working at a Troy business. Joerendt said she felt like she had indigestion and her hands had no strength before she collapsed.

“I knew what was going on, but denied it,” she said in July during a workout at the cardiopulmonary rehab unit.  Plus, she said, the symptoms her father said he’d experienced in a heart attack were different than what she felt.

That is not unusual, according to the folks at the UVMC Cardiac Rehab unit.  The warning signs or symptoms of heart disease may be more subtle in women than in men, the American Heart Associated reports.

Elaine Bohman, RN, BSN, CTTS (Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist), said it is important for women to know their numbers: cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, among others. “We make constant reminders to women to pay attention to their body, listen to what your body is telling you,” she said.

Once a woman is in rehab, the care takes an individual approach with educational programs looking at proper food choices, appropriate exercise and stress management, among others, Heath said. “Our goal is to build healthier lives,” she said.

A realistic approach is important, Bohman said, adding, “There are things you can change, and things you cannot change.”

Maniaci McMillan noted that anyone involved in the program can benefit from having a buddy along during exercise or other activities to help keep them accountable.

The other clients participating in the cardiopulmonary program provide a support group within the program, Heath said. “They are supported by people who have had the same events,” she said, as a number of cardiopulmonary patients worked out, under the watchful eyes of staff, on a variety of machines available in the rehab area.

The result of that interaction, Maniaci McMillan added, is “we are a family here” in the unit.

Joerendt said the rehab program has helped her as she works to adjust her lifestyle, including working fewer hours – at one point she was working 65 hours a week – and quitting smoking. “I like it a lot, and it helps,” she said of the program.

To learn more about Cardiac Rehabilitation at UVMC, call 440-4675 or log on to UVMC.com.  For more details about the ‘Go Red Goes North’ Expo, call 853-3111 or email cris.peterson@heart.org.