‘Coeds Go Red Luncheon’ for heart health

By Kristina Aiad-Toss, News Writer

A common misconception about heart problems is that they only affect the elderly or overweight. However, the “Coeds Go Red Luncheon” of last Friday, April 24,  gave information to faculty, staff, and students about protecting the heart at any age. Attendees also enjoyed a “heart healthy” lunch provided by Subway.

The event was in the Union Ballrooms. Over 50 women attended the event, most wearing red.

The American Heart Association “Go Red for Women” hosted the event. Many were involved in planning including Stephanie Palumbo, the “Go Red for Women” director, Candace Campbell Jackson, the UA vice president of Strategic Partnerships, and Dana Zaratsian, executive administrative assistant for the Office of Student Success. The Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust and UA funded the event.

“Go Red for Women” is an AHA educational and fundraising campaign. Since people usually are unaware that heart disease is the number one killer of women, the initiative seeks to educate individuals, especially the younger generation, on heart disease and stroke prevention.

The organization hosts events year round, including community talks, “Wear Red Day” each month, and other luncheons. In May, AHA will hold a community wide “Go Red Luncheon” fundraiser featuring a healthy lunch, vendors, and many speakers. The AHA hopes to have additional events to promote heart health awareness on campus.

The speakers included Suzanne Hughes, the chief learning officer of PCNA, and Donna Dannemiller, a nurse whose daughter suffered from congenital heart disease.

Hughes delivered the message from a medical perspective, providing the steps individuals can take to prevent heart risks.

These steps included knowing healthy blood pressure numbers, considering family history, avoiding smoking and secondhand smoke, drinking in moderation, choosing medication carefully, visiting a doctor, and exercising three to four times a week. A “heart healthy” diet includes eating healthy and balanced meals, low-fat foods and salts.

The risk of high-blood pressure increases with age and doesn’t always accompany symptoms. When steps are taken to lower this number, the risk of these diseases decreases—stroke by 40 percent, heart attack by 25 percent, and heart failure by 50 percent.

Being overweight or obese increases the risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol abnormalities, diabetes, and heart disease.

Following this discussion, Dannemiller told the audience of her personal experiences with her daughter Marianne’s health condition and how it affected her life. Her daughter is healthy and now a freshman at The Ohio State University.

“We hope that people will leave the event and make a life change to live a healthier life,” Palumbo said. “Then, share this message with another person and that all these voices come together to lead the community to a healthier and brighter future.”

The event specifically reached out to students, because heart disease and stroke is affecting a much younger age group than ever before. Most of the causes of these afflictions are preventable by changing to a healthier lifestyle and being aware of the risk factors.