Go Red campaign tries to tackle nation’s leading cause of death for women

A prick of the finger and two minutes, that’s all it took for Arleen Satorski to find out if she’s at risk for heart disease.

“Just a simple little prick, and all this information is fabulous. I have a granddaughter who is getting married in Florida, so I keep saying I got to stay alive,” Satorski said.

Satorski was one of dozens of employees and people who received a free screening at Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s “Go Red Village” in honor of National Go Red for Women Day. The event is aimed at educating women on heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. Results of the free screenings can signal a risk for a heart attack or stroke.

“My team, community health services, is doing some heart health screenings. So as part of that, we’re doing blood pressures, we’re doing blood sugars, we’re doing cholesterol, and then we are doing something called Hemoglobin A1C testing, which is long-term blood sugar,” said Marge Drozd, director of community health services for Saint Peter’s.

“Right now that mortality rate for breast cancer in the United States for women is about 4 percent. For heart disease it’s over 55 percent,” said Dr. Nidhi Kumar, a cardiologist at Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

Kumar says besides a blood test, exercise and decreasing stress can also help prevent heart disease.

“There is no one quick solution. It’s not about one pill, one procedure, one behavior. You need to look at your body as a whole system,” said Kumar.

Those who attended the event were able to take advantage of holistic healthy activities, like a chair massage and a healthy cooking demo.

“Today is turkey chili and vegetarian chili along with a healthy toppings bar, so we have salsa, cheese and tomatoes, and all kinds of fresh garnishes and some healthy chips,” said Michelle Wilson, executive director of Elijah’s Promise. “There’s beans and there’s proteins in it, as well as the turkey chili, so they’re both very healthy, low-salt options for dinner.”

But Kumar says it’s time that’s most important to women when it comes to their heart health.

“I have a lot of female patients, and when I ask if you are eating right, are you exercising, the number one response is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ And I think women don’t have enough time is because they spend all of their time taking care of their children, taking care of their family, their pets, their homes, their parents. But my message to women is: you have to first take care of yourself, if you can want to care of others, so make the time,’ said Kumar.