Written by Mary Ellen Porrazzo Friday, 04 February 2011 00:00
Valentine’s Day is not the only day when the color red signifies matters of the heart. Red plays a prominent role on this day too and once again it’s all about the heart. February 4 is the eighth annual National Wear Red Day for Women and women everywhere have been urged to participate by wearing red to draw attention to heart disease and stroke, the number one and number three killers of women, according to the American Heart Association. Cancer is number two.
Among the companies marking the day in Hicksville is the Queens-Long Island Medical Group with offices at 350 South Broadway. Lata Singh-Vasconcellos, chief marketing and development officer (CMDO), said in an email interview from the Garden City headquarters, that the company urges its 1800 staff members in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens to become involved. In Hicksville she said, “All 100 staff members will be encouraged to show their support by wearing red.” She added the staff will also “ask every female patient to speak with their physician about heart disease in women. Our goal is not only to heighten awareness but to help our patients with prevention and early detection.”
Jessica DiMeo, senior regional director, communications for the American Heart Association, with offices in Plainview, said, “People really do not realize heart disease is the number one killer of women. She advised, “Know your numbers.”
Those numbers, according to the AHA, are blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body weight. Knowing them could save your life. The AHA says you may not experience any symptoms of illness, never realizing you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or even pre-diabetes, so it is important to be aware of these numbers and seek medical attention if they are high. Sometimes waiting for symptoms means it is too late. For example, before any warning sign appears, experts say diabetes could become severe. Regular checks of blood sugar and blood pressure can be performed at home. The American Heart Association recommends purchasing glucose and blood pressure monitors, readily available at many retail stores, and using them between trips to the physician.
Macy’s, which has a large store in the Broadway Mall, is a national sponsor of Go Red for Women. Media Relations Manager Marissa Nicolaescu, in a telephone interview from the store’s Manhattan headquarters, said Macy’s employees across the country wear red “to bring awareness that heart disease is women’s number one killer.” She said, “A lot of our salespeople will wear the official pin.” In addition to red clothing, she added many employees “will wear red lipstick and red nail polish.” Macy’s is also sponsoring a special five-day “Wear Red Sale Event” that rewards customer involvement with a special sale.
This is the first year of participation for Fusion Lighting, Hank Lane Music and More Than Music – three companies located at 200 Frank Road in Hicksville. Financial officer Donna Mulé (pronounced mule-AYE) said they’ve “put posters up all over the office.” She credits owner and President Marcus Mordachini for “bringing the initiative into the office.” Nearly half of the three companies approximately 30 employees are female, she said. “It is so important that they be aware that heart disease is the number one killer of women.”
The American Heart Association proclaims, “One day a year, what we all wear is a matter of life and death.” This annual event, the first Friday in February, is designed to encourage dialogue about cardiovascular disease, including ways to prevent it and ways to treat it. The AHA says, “It’s personal — these are our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends.”
Experts caution you must act quickly if you fear you are experiencing a heart attack. Call 911 immediately. Medication needs to be administered within an hour of the symptoms. Those symptoms include discomfort – pressure or pain – in the shoulder, arm, back, neck, jaw or stomach, shortness of breath, a cold sweat or light-headedness.
Genetics plays a role in heart disease. Be especially vigilant if there is a history of heart disease in your family. But lifestyle is also a determining factor. Doctors caution: If you smoke, stop. If you are heavy, lose weight. If you are sedentary, exercise.
Lata Singh-Vasconcellos, CMDO of the Queens Long Island Medical Group, said of her company’s participation, “I believe it is important because we are all part of the community and whether you live or work here it is important that we all invest in the health and well-being of our neighbors.”
For more information visit www.heart. org, www.sisterosister.org or www.gored forwomen.org.