North Shore University Hospital hosted its 10th annual “Go Red” event on Friday to raise awareness for women’s heart disease. The event featured several prominent speakers who provided facts and background regarding the No. 1 leading cause of death among women in the United States.
Among those who spoke before the podium was North Shore Executive Director Susan Somerville, Katz Institute for Women’s Health Vice-President Stacey Rosen and Joyce Lenard, a heart disease survivor.
Lenard first became aware of her condition 8 years ago at her grandson’s bar mitzvah when she felt a stabbing pain in her chest which forced her to visit the emergency room. Doctors administered a blood test, which did not reveal any of the standard signs of a heart attack. Upon further testing it was discovered that he had a condition known as “takotsubo,” Japanese for “octopus jar,” the shape that her heart turned into.
“The bottom part of my heart was just laying there doing nothing and the top was luckily still beating,” the 77-year old said.
She now exercises daily and takes medication which allows her to live a normal life. However, not all women are as fortunate as her.
“Sixty-four percent of women have no symptoms,” said Stacey Rosen, adding that one in three women die of heart disease each year, more than all types of cancer combined.
With the help of the American Heart Association, North Shore Hospital is hoping to help raise awareness and encourage women to wait no longer than five minutes to call 911 in the event that they experience any symptoms relating to a heart attack or stroke.
“This event is about awareness,” Somerville said. “There has been a huge effect over the past 10 years. I have laid witness to how we have been able to diagnose heart disease.”