Kings County goes red for heart disease

A day for the ladies in red.

Hundreds of women dressed in red gathered at Kings County hospital lobby to celebrate Go Red for Women campaign on Feb. 3. The annual event recognizes heart-related illnesses as one of the leading causes of death in women and celebrates women who are affected with health-centric activities and events. Organizers planned tai chi classes and meditative services for the women, and even some men were there, said one woman at the event.

“It wasn’t just women there, the support from the men was amazing,” said Lydia Ford, associate director of respiratory therapy at the hospital. “When I looked, there were a lot of men and women who supported the initiative and it feels very good to know that they supported us.”

Ford, who has borderline hypertension, has make careful eating choices to prevent full-blown high-blood pressure, and said supporting these events mean a lot to her because black communities are unknowingly and overwhelmingly affected by heart-health problems.

“One thing in our community — the African-American and Caribbean community is we like the flavors in our food and heart disease is not the first thing on our radar and it’s not something we are focused on,” she said. “I wanted to be there to represent our communities and have opportunity to support.”

And often times it is women within these communities who are most vulnerable to heart-related issues because they push their personal health concerns aside for their families, said Ford.

“Women take care of everyone in the family but are the last to go the doctor because they are struggling with other responsibilities,” she said. “But especially for women, the way heart attacks manifest in women is different than that of a man. A lot of times it can be a pain in the arm but it could be a heart attack that you’re not aware of.”

But even in her own personal efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle, Ford said even as a healthcare worker it was a challenge when around fast food, and expressed the hope that sufficient awareness is raised to increase preventative measures, she said.

“I work in healthcare and it should be easy because I have the information readily available but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to apply,” said Ford. “I have to be conscious of what I eat all the time because it’s part of the struggle I face everyday with borderline hypertension, and that’s also something that we as community have to be conscious of.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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