SNOW HILL — Health departments and two hospitals in the tri-county area are partnering together next month for an event that focuses on women’s heart health.
Kat Gunby, prevention coordinator with the Worcester County Health Department, said the annual event, entitled “Go Red for Women” is part of a national campaign to raise awareness of heart disease.
“More and more people are becoming aware of heart disease and hypertension,” she said. “It truly is a silent killer, especially in women.”
Heart disease accounted for more than 27 percent of fatalities in Worcester County from 2012 to 2014 and is the leading cause of death among residents, according to Gunby.
During that same time period, the average prevalence rate among Worcester County residents was 16.7 percent, double the state average of 7.5 percent.
Gunby explained that many Worcester County residents are not aware of their risks for pre-hypertension and many women do not exhibit noticeable signs of heart disease. She said men and women can lower their risk of heart disease by checking their blood pressure, lowering their cholesterol, losing weight, learning their family history and quitting smoking.
“We in public health try to work with regional partners to educate and provide accessible programs to move that needle down,” she said.
The Worcester County Health Department is partnering with health departments in Wicomico and Somerset County, Atlantic General Hospital and Peninsula Regional Medical Center to host the tri-county event on Feb. 9 at Worcester Technical High School in Newark.
The event will include 16 different health vendors, a healthy gourmet dinner prepared by culinary students at the high school and two keynote speakers from Atlantic General Hospital including staff pharmacist Karan Bealla and obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Brandi Musselman.
Gunby said the goal of the event is to educate women on the signs of hypertension and heart disease, as well as preventative and treatment measures available to them.
“It can look different in women than in men,” she said. “It affects more women than breast cancer.”
Vendors at the event will also offer blood pressure screenings, massage therapy, dermatology scans and the like in an effort to teach and identify health issues. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the event will run from 5-8 p.m., according to Gunby. There is no cost to participate.
She said those interested in attending can pre-register by calling Peninsula Regional Medical Center at 410-543-7028 or visiting www.peninsula.org/GoRed. If space is full, individuals will be placed on a waiting list.
“It will give women a fun and empowering event,” Gunby said. “It’s open for anyone interested in women’s health.”
The “Go Red for Women” campaign and “National Wear Red Day” on Feb. 3 is spearheaded by the American Heart Association. The local partnership takes turns organizing an event on an annual basis to educate and acknowledge heart disease in the tri-county area.
“This type of event brings a population together that is specific to them,” Gunby said.