PUBLISHED: 12:13 PM on Wednesday, February 8, 2006
SEARHC holds events for National Heart Month
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer for women in Alaska and the United States. But heart disease also is one of the easiest diseases to prevent. In an effort to inspire women this year to take better care of their hearts, the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium's Wise Woman program is celebrating National Heart Month in February.

By knowing their heart screening numbers - their blood pressures, cholesterol levels, glucose levels, etc. - and working to keep those numbers in check, women in Southeast Alaska can reduce their risk of premature death or disability. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are the No. 1 causes of death for American and Alaskan women. But the risks can be reduced.

"Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in cardiovascular health," said Nancy Knapp, the coordinator for the Wise Woman program. "Women can reduce their risk by not using tobacco, eating well and being active for 30 minutes a day."

During National Heart Month, SEARHC will be hosting several National Wear Red Day celebrations. The events feature heart health educational materials from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Heart Truth campaign, supplied by the Office of Women's Health.

Lobby displays will be set up at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, Juneau Medical Center, Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock and Haines Health Center. SEARHC's Kake and Angoon clinics are organizing their own National Wear Red Day celebrations. Some SEARHC communities may have additional events planned for National Wear Red Day and National Heart Month, such as fashion shows, heart health bingo nights and library displays.

A Wear Red fashion show will be from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahi'di Community House in Sitka. The fashion show event also will feature a heart awareness talk by Dr. John Bacoccio. For more information, contact Martha Pearson at (907) 966-8783. Besides the lobby displays at SEARHC's Haines Health Center, the Haines Wise Woman program will sponsor a free heart health bingo night with prizes at the Elizabeth Peratrovich celebration dinner on Thursday, Feb. 16, at the ANB/ANS Hall. A heart health display will be up at the Haines Borough Public Library all month.

A "Wear Red" fashion show gala honoring local women who have volunteered their hearts, minds and energy to improve the life of the community takes place on Saturday, Feb. 25. This event invites all women to share their stories of heart health. The gala is free and will feature a heart-healthy fund-raising dinner available from the Haines Women's Club. For more information, contact Jennifer Potratz at (907) 766-6366.

For more information, contact the SEARHC Wise Woman program at (888) 388-8782.