February 2014

From the executive director

February is American Heart Month, a time to wear red to raise awareness of our #1 killer: heart disease. While it is a time to celebrate positive changes that have come about in the past year in support of women's hearts and health, it is also a time to heed the warnings with the rising death rate in younger women.

First, the Good News...

  • New research findings by Noel Bairey Merz, director of the Women's Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, offers real hope for safer, more appropriate tools to better diagnose heart disease and the smaller-vessel disease that affects so many of us women. more
  • New guidelines from an American Heart Association review panel for stroke risk factors in women brings gender-specific aspects of disease to the forefront, with higher death rate seen in women. Download the AHA's new STROKE alert sheet for women. more
  • Perhaps the most important happening of this year is the enactment of the Affordable Care Act. "Obamacare" ensures that all of us will have health insurance to receive the care we need. Greater access to care will positively impact all women and their families. While the technology component and web sign-up has been a cumbersome process, snafus will eventually disappear and what we are left with is the secure knowledge that healthcare will be there for us when we need it.
Now, the Bad News...

  • A study from a Canadian research team shows fewer people are having heart attacks or dying from them, with the exception of one group: women under age 55, where the death rate is on the rise. more.
  • Of grave concern is another recent study that showed heart disease as the number one cause of pregnancy-related deaths in California. Maternal death rates have been increasing in California and the United States since the mid-1990s, according to statistics from the California Department of Public Health. High blood pressure and lack of specific guidelines for how to manage this condition during pregnancy is thought to be a key issue.
In the aforementioned study, compared to women who died of non-heart-related causes, researchers found that:
  • Women who were most likely to die from pregnancy-related heart disease were African-American, obese or had documented substance abuse during pregnancy.
  • Nearly one-fourth of the women who died of cardiac causes had been diagnosed with high blood pressure during their pregnancies.
  • In about two-thirds of the deaths, the diagnosis was either incorrect or delayed, or providers had given ineffective or inappropriate treatments, researchers said. One third of the patients who died had delayed or failed to seek care, 10 percent refused medical advice and 27 percent did not recognize their symptoms as cardiovascular. more.
The Women's Heart Foundation is working within patient advocacy groups such as the DIA and PCORI, to improve the medical care and treatment of women, and promote use of newer, safer and more effective diagnostics that may be employed even in pregnant women and in children, without causing them harm. We are also working towards development of a system to institute prevention in schools and communities, but this project will need much more robust funding to bring it to the public for use.

This past year, $33,000 was raised through the generosity of the eBay Giving Works Community of Sellers, Give at Checkout and Paypal Giving Fund. We are so grateful to the 20,000 individuals who selected our charity to be the recipient of funds. This money will allow us to make critical improvements to our website and create a new mobile phone interface. We further plan to expand the professional education opportunities on our website, with curriculum that has already been developed, advancing The Gender Care Initiative™. We need your support to accomplish our goals. Please consider a donation. Listed below are three ways you may choose to give:
  1. Support an upcoming fundraising event in Philadelphia February 11 "Galentines Day" at the TIMES Restaurant and Bar
  2. Go to www.eBay.com and look for Women's Heart Foundation-supported charity items for sale (the link is on the WomensHeart.org homepage)
  3. Give at Check out, give with a donation or give with a memorial gift on Paypal (the link is on the WomensHeart.org homepage)

Please share this email with friends, family members and coworkers. "Like" us on facebook @womensheartfoundation. Visit us on Twitter and youtube @womensheartfdn; and always remember: take care of your heart.

Bonnie Arkus, RN,
Executive Director and Founder

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Tired of snow? Have cabin fever? We have just the cure. Come join us February 11, 7-9 P.M. for a fabulous fun and romantic pre-Valentine's night. It's actually a "Galentine's" night to take place at the TIME Bar and Restaurant in center city Philadelphia. This is a benefit for the Women's Heart Foundation and is being sponsored by Great Lakes Brewery. The event will feature:

-- Smak Parlour fashion truck
-- Raffles and Prizes
-- An appearance by Cupid
-- Lady Reps from Breweries.

Print out the flyer below and bring it with you for a free Women's Heart Foundation HEART SMART bookmark. Don't miss out on this fantastic event.

Vote for the iRescu Project on MedStartr and Help Save Lives. The American Heart Association Hi forum is sponsoring the 2014 Innovation Challenge. This is a contest to invite crowd-sourcing support of projects with the prospect of winning funding from the AHA. The iRescu Project is in the one that we want you to know about. Following is some background on the cause.

Each year ~360,000 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in the USA alone. Everyday ~1000 people die of SCA in the streets, homes, workplaces, schools and playgrounds of our country. As per data from teh American Heart Association, this includes upto 5,800 children every year. The low national survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest, an average of 8%, have been essentially unchanged for 30 years - despite many advances in medical care. The ambulance usually can't be there in crucial window of 3 minutes before brain death commences, so immediate bystander action is paramount to saving lives.

The immediate bystander intervention with CPR and the use of a public access automated external defibrillator (AED) - a defibrillator specially designed for lay people to use and positioned in the community - is key to saving life. An AED is the most effective tool for resuscitating someone undergoing cardiac arrest, ~ 80% of victims have a cardiac rhythm reversible with an AED, so a bystander immediately doing CPR and finding the nearest AED is a matter of life or death. iRescu will help you find the AED. Vote for iRescu on Medstartr. Do it today! The contest ends February 25. Click hereto enter the Medstartr site and view the iRescu Project. Sign up, sign on, then vote by contributing any amount of money that you wish. THANK YOU!

Beverly Matthews
   Women's Heart Foundation Patient Advocate Beverly Matthews is interviewedd by Mary Amaroso of CN8's "Real Life" about symptoms of heart disease that were missed for more than a year.View video

Imagine a world without heart disease. Please consider a donation to the Women's Heart Foundation.
Please share this life-saving information with friends, family and co-workers. Send it with every woman you know.