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Go Red For Women! Take Charge of Your Heart Health

February 03, 2021

Heart disease is a top threat to women’s health and an upcoming Hartford HealthCare webinar aims to raise awareness and encourage active health management. “One of the goals of our Women’s Heart Wellness program is to continually educate and empower women to understand the risk factors of heart disease and how they can make positive changes to lower that risk,” said Heather Swales, MD, one of the directors of the Women’s Heart Health Program. The program, “Go Red for Women! Take Charge of Your Heart Health,” will be on Thursday, Feb. 4, from 7-8:15 p.m. In this free, live webinar session, participants will learn about the signs and symptoms of heart disease, risk factors and how to stay mindful of stress. It includes ways to incorporate movement into your routine and cook heart-healthy meals. The program features Dr. Swales and Stephanie Saucier, MD, also a director of the Women’s Heart Health Program; Jennifer Ferrand, PysD, director of wellness, Hartford HealthCare; clinical exercise physiologists Tammie Zainc and Monica Naxera; and Christopher Barrett, a registered dietitian. There will be a live question-and-answer session after the program. “We hope to illustrate the importance of healthy choices and demonstrate how lifestyle changes can be easily incorporated into women’s daily lives. Our goal is to make lifestyle changes less overwhelming and more approachable,” Dr. Saucier said. “Awareness is key to prevention, which starts with the patient and their primary care physician discussing their risk for heart disease regularly.” Risk factors for heart disease include: smoking, or a history of smoking; hypertension; high cholesterol; obesity; diabetes; and a family history of heart disease. Menopause is a major life change that can impact these risk factors and lead to increased risk, Dr. Saucier said. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases continue to be a woman’s greatest health threat even though nearly 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented. “It is common for women to put off seeing a doctor because they are busy taking care of everything else in life,” Dr. Saucier said. She said COVID-19 also has affected preventative care for fear of infection, and people have been taking on new roles at home, such as remote education for children. Many have also experienced job changes which can result in loss of health insurance. All of this can add stress and lead to unhealthy habits. Virtual visits with physicians have helped reach patients, however healthcare providers know that by postponing routine care and ignoring symptoms, people have increased risks for poorer outcomes, she said. “Physicians’ offices and hospitals are doing everything to keep patients safe, including screening, wearing PPE and practicing social distancing,” Dr. Saucier said. “I encourage patients not to be afraid and to reach out to their physicians with any concerns they are having.” To register for the webinar, please call 1.855.HHC.HERE (1.855.442.4373) or visit HartfordHealthCare.org/VirtualClasses. This event has required questions as part of the registration process. After you register, you’ll receive an email with easy instructions on joining the webinar.