Go Red For Women – Healing the Heart

Board of Directors of the Tri-County Women’s Project

By Patrice Smith

“It’s amazing how the heart that nurtures our children and takes care of our men is subject to disease,” says Shelia Anderson in opening remarks at this year’s ‘Go Red for Women’ program.

The event sponsored by the Tri-County Women’s Project, Inc. at the Charleston County Library on Saturday February 4th delved into ways women can keep their hearts healthy. Heart Disease is the leading killer of women.

A panel of experts addressed the gathering.

“We need to choose the right oil when cooking. Use one that pours not solid like Crisco. These oils contain unsaturated fats that won’t clog the arteries and will reduce our risk of heart disease,” advised Rev. Jeannette Jordan, a national public speaker on Health and Nutrition.

Jordan said we need to eat and encourage our children to eat at least two cups of vegetables a day. Vegetables contain fiber that helps wipe cholesterol out of our bodies. Jordan says young children are already being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes, fueled by high fat diets.

Mary Steele, another panelist, is affiliated with the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, an organization of 642 women who all had some sort of heart episode.

“I was under a lot of stress and I had a heart attack while I was driving and hit a fence. I am told that some people nearby formed a circle and prayed over me,” Steele remembers.

She changed her bad eating habits and lost 100 pounds. Steele says she’s thankful for a second chance. She encouraged the group to commit to change and to do it for you.

“Pay attention to your body” was the recommendation from Virginia King, a health educator.

“I was under extreme stress and I felt terrible. The stress was killing me. I could feel something happening in my body.”

King says she’s no longer in that stressful situation and she feels better.

Christian Fleming from the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at Roper-St. Francis Healthcare said that physical activity is different than exercise.

“We need at least 150 minutes a week of exercise. We need to make ourselves more important and exercise to prevent further damage to our hearts.”

The mission of the Tri-County Women’s Project, Inc. is to foster the growth of women through education, networking and public advocacy. Founder Barbara Gathers is a heart transplant recipient.

‘Go Red for Women’ is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease in women.

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