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Princeton Community Hospital promotes heart health with Wear Red Day

Feb. 3—By GREG JORDAN

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — Following healthy habits that help women avoid their number-one killer — heart disease — and how to recognize its signs and symptoms is the reason why women and men both wore some red Friday for Wear Red Day.

WVU Medicine Princeton Community Hospital (PCH) joined groups across the country for National Wear Red Day, and throughout February for American Heart Month, to bring awareness that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans, especially women.

Hospital employees converged at the PCH Parkview Center Atrium to kick off American Heart Month with Wear Red Day.

"Thank you all for being here today," said PCH President Karen Bowling. "This is a very important day today. Go red! and it's go red for women. I don't know how many of you realize that heart disease is the number one killer of women in our country. Some people think it's cancer and cancer is number two, but obviously we need to always be focused on our screenings and what we need to do for cancer; but this is really about heart health and the importance that we place ourselves on what we do and how we as women and the gentlemen here supporting us insure that we're doing everything we can to be sure we're ready and we're preventing heart disease."

An important step for people wanting to avoid heart diseases is to take time for themselves.

"That's very important. When we talk about prevention of heart disease, we're talking about eating right," Bowling said. "You know, we're not talking about grabbing something on the go, we're talking about thinking about your meals, three meals a day, and making sure you have fruits and vegetables. Those are very important things, again, for heart health."

Exercise is an important part of heart health.

"How many in this room regularly exercise?" Bowling asked. One hand went up a little. "Wow! Half of a hand up. But this is something we should do for ourselves."

Exercise is among the activities which help reduce stress.

"As we think about stress in our lives, we need to realize that stress comes in a lot of different forms," Bowling said. "Stress can come in the form of your workload. Stress can come in the form of your home life. As we think about this as women and what's important to us, we need to realize that stress is something that can be very dangerous if it's not handled the right way because it does get to the point where it can affect your health and wellbeing."

Some people use mediation and prayers to relieve stress while others join groups sharing their interests and volunteering. Making sure to get adequate sleep is important for relieving stress, Bowling said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in West Virginia. Risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, physical inactivity, diabetes, a family history of early coronary heart disease, and age (for women, 55 and older.)

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers these guidelines to help prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of developing the disease: don't smoke; eat for heart health; aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week; ask your doctor to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose.

"I think the whole purpose of Go Red, which is very important, is for women to take a step back and think about what they can do to prevent heart disease, to do everything they can to enjoy a long life free of heart disease; and at any given point in time when you recognize signs or symptoms of a problem, go to your primary care provider," Bowling said. "Make sure you know your numbers and know your cholesterol. Make sure if you're having any symptoms that you immediately go to the emergency room if you're having chest pains . In women, the first signs of a heart attack can be shortness of breath and shoulder pains. Again, if you're at risk for heart disease and you're having signs and symptoms, you need to go get checked at the emergency room."

WVU Medicine Princeton Community Hospital has a cardiopulmonary department for diagnosing and treating people suffering from heart and lung problems including heart disease.

For more information call 304-487-7000 or visit https://wvumedicine.org/princeton. — Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com