MOUNT VERNON — When it comes to women and heart disease, what you don’t know can kill you.
On Friday, roughly 100 women from throughout the community gathered at the Mount Vernon Country Club to participate in a “Go Red for Women” education event to raise awareness of what women can do to protect their hearts. The event, sponsored by Knox Community Hospital, featured the latest in information from the American Heart Association.
Prema Samhat, director of development and community relations at KCH, served as hostess for the event. She said cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, and actually kills more women than men. Samhat reminded the audience that minutes count when someone is experiencing a cardiovascular event, and a friend or family member should not drive the person to the hospital — they should call 9-1-1 so an emergency medical team can assist the patient.
One of the problems associated with women and heart disease, said Samhat, is that women’s symptoms can be quite different from that of men, and women often tend to ignore the warning signs.
Presenter Deirdre Frye, a registered nurse, said she herself was one of those women who was in denial.
“Denial is my favorite place to be,” she said. “I never once had a chest pain and basically ignored the shortness of breath I was experiencing.” Frye ended up in the KCH emergency room and now has two shunts. The episode motivated Frye to tell others of her ordeal to help other women avoid what she went through.