It’s a fact – one in three women will die of heart disease or stroke in the United States.
But with research, data collection and education, two hospitals are teaming up in hopes of better understanding the No. 1 killer of women.
After a successful first round in Astoria, Columbia Memorial Hospital and Oregon Health and Science University are joining forces again to bring the Women’s Heart Health Initiative to Warrenton.
This time, the free event collecting data from women in the community related to heart health will come to Warrenton Grade School from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 6 and 7, and those behind it hope 500 women will volunteer.
“We got 300 women to participate in Astoria and one of those days had icy roads so we’re hoping 500 will come out and take part in Warrenton,” said OHSU’s Dr. Mark O’Hollaren.
The event in Warrenton is open to any woman in Clatsop County, ages 20 to 69. A $20 gift card for Fred Meyer will be given to participants. It is a drop-in event and is expected to take 1 1/2 hours.
At the event, women will be surveyed and measured – from body mass index (BMI) to blood pressure to eating and exercise habits – so a base can be established. Researchers hope to potentially follow up annually with participants for the next five years to track lifestyle and body changes to better understand heart disease and how it effects women on the coast. Results are given to women at the event right away.
During the Astoria event, researchers discovered 20 percent of the 300 participants had never spoken to a health care provider about heart disease. Three-quarters of the participants wanted to change their lifestyle, 85 percent discovered changing their behavior will reduce their risk, but only 65 percent were confident they could. Ninety percent of women correctly identified the signs of a heart attack. Twenty-five percent of women, however, said they were too stressed to make any lifestyle changes. Stress itself is a factor, as is heredity and lifestyle.
It is the second phase of the Women’s Heart Health Initiative that began with focus groups. The Warrenton and Astoria events are part of the data collection.
According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease accounted for 22 percent of deaths in Oregon in 2005. An additional 7 percent of deaths were caused by stroke, also a form of heart disease. In the nation, heart disease is ranked the No. 1 killer of women. In Oregon, it is second to cancer, followed by stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintential injuries.
For more information, contact Senior Research Assistant Sarah Egan at 503-494-2947 or email hearthealth@OHSU.edu
This story originally appeared in Daily Astorian.