Friday, January 27, 2023

AHA Red Chair Series Explores Women’s Heart Health

According to the American Heart Association, a little more than half, 51.9%, of hypertension deaths are women. Black women have a higher percentage of hypertension, 57.6%, than other races or ethnicities. (Adobe Stock)

GLEN ALLEN — The American Heart Association has developed a series of videos to educate women about heart disease.

The Red Chair Series is a four-episode series of five-minute conversations about an issue relating to heart disease’s effects, specifically on women.

Dr. Yolandra Hancock, a member of the American Heart Association Greater Washington Area Board of Directors, said as someone with a personal and professional connection to heart disease, doing the series was important to her. Since heart disease is a leading killer of women, she explained how it can happen.

“Women’s symptoms are usually discounted both by us as women and by the medical community,” Hancock pointed out. “A lot of times women experience symptoms a bit differently. We get so busy taking care of others, we may sometimes ignore the symptoms of a heart attack. We may associate it with something else. We may just assume it’s indigestion or anxiety.”

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year.

Hancock acknowledged people might see heart health as a challenge, but finds managing heart health can be easier than people think. One way to begin, she suggested, is to be mindful of what changes need to be made, such as better diet and increased exercise. Hancock added people can work with their physician to begin taking control of their heart health.

Hancock stressed one of the bigger challenges working on heart health is symptoms are more prevalent when it is too late to do something about them. Although the first videos are brief, she knows there is an expansive future for the Red Chair Series.

“This particular series is part of a longitudinal information sharing,” Hancock emphasized. “We’ve done the Red Chair Series before, but this, thankfully, was my first time participating as the host. But, we’ve done them before, and we plan to launch continuous series.”

Hancock’s favorite part of working on the series was knowing how it could help viewers. She added the videos are timeless for women of all generations and at different phases of their lives.

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