Local News

Red Alert: Women Need To Be Aware Of Heart Health

Posted March 5, 2004

— Red is in fashion this weekend as a national tour of red dresses stops in Raleigh.

Eight of the 19 dresses in the collection, on display through Saturday at Crabtree Valley Mall, represents the work of some of the world's top designers.

It is part of the national "Heart Truth" campaign to make women more aware of their risks for heart disease.

WakeMed

combined the event with a chance for women to get free blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

When you see red, think about your heart. Doctors hope the thought will lead to action. Getting regular screening for heart problems is the best first step.

Sandra Collard eagerly took advantage of WakeMed's free offer to check out the health of her heart.

"Post-Christmas holiday, I thought it would be a good opportunity to check out my body," she said. "They just told me, you know, that I need to lose about 30 percent of my body weight, which is a shock."

Collard and many others may make this a turning point in their lives, just as Felicia Williams did 20 years ago.

"I was 29 years old when I was diagnosed with hypertension," said Williams, a nurse supervisor in WakeMed's coronary care unit.

Williams knows one of the hospital beds could have been hers if she had not taken steps to lower her blood pressure.

"It's under control, but it's something that has to be managed the rest of your life," she said.

Williams and others are managing the cholesterol and blood pressure with regular exercise and a balanced diet low in salt and fat and rich in fruits and vegetables.

Doctors hope this type of health screening will raise a red flag to those who are not managing their heart health.

"If we can intercept a person before they develop coronary artery disease or heart disease, that's of prime importance," Leithe said.

Because getting a hold of potential heart problems early is better than waiting for when it is too late.

The free health screening continues Saturday at Crabtree Valley Mall from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

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