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Hospital kicks off heart awareness campaign
It was a sea of red on a recent Friday at Colusa Regional Medical Center.
And it will continue to be a sea of red every Friday this month, according to Mary Jane Tait, director of staff development at the hospital.
Thankfully, the red Tait refers to is symbolic.
In an effort to fight heart disease in women, the staff of the medical center kicked off a month-long, awareness-raising campaign by wearing red clothes and covering bulletin boards with red, educational fliers.
Go Red for Women is a national campaign organized by the American Heart Association with the goal of disceminating facts about heart disease, which they claim is the number one killer of women.
"The goal is to reduce the numbers of women that die of heart attack and stroke. The secondary goal is to raise money," Tait said.
The American Heart Association reports that many women dismiss cardiovascular disease as an "older man's disease," but heart-related illness claims the lives of nearly 500,000 American women each year. The campaign primarly focuses on a few factors that contribute to heart-related illnesses, including diet, lifestyle choices and genetics.
"If you've got a sister or a mother who has suffered from heart-related illness, you've got a double-barrelled shotgun pointed at you," Tait said.
Even if your family has a history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, unhealthy eating habits, or obesity, campaign organizers insist that heart disease in the family tree doesn't mean you can't turn over a new leaf.
"You can prevent heart disease with healthy eating and daily activities, and you can pass those traits along," said Tait.
She offered a few tips to eat more healthy, even while eating out.
"Skip side dishes, or opt for a side salad or fruit instead of fried. Switch to diet soda to minimize sugars and try things that are grilled to eat leaner proteins," Tait suggested. "Pass on the 'value-size.' When you supersize, the meal isn't the only thing that gets bigger."