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American Heart Association Kicks-Off Heart Month With Awareness Activities Across Houston

January 31st, 2018

American Heart Month Begins Feb. 1

February marks the national celebration of American Heart Month, when the American Heart Association (AHA) shines its torch on the number one killer of all Americans – heart disease. While heart disease is a risk for all Americans, it’s no secret that women are at a greater risk. In fact, cardiovascular diseases cause one in three women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute. Over the past decade, the AHA has made remarkable progress through its Go Red for Women® Campaign; however, there is still much work to do and awareness to raise so more women can be reached and more lives saved.

Throughout this iconic month, the Greater Houston area is encouraged to join the AHA’s efforts by participating in National Wear Red Day (Feb. 2), committing to a healthy lifestyle, and spreading the message that heart disease is the primary health threat for those that are near and dear to our hearts.

The AHA invites Houstonians to help amplify the month’s mission by taking part in the following events over the course of the next month:

Feb. 1 – 28, 2018:

Free Heart Month Guest Speaker:
AHA can provide a speaker to come and share the signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke, and speak about numerous topics. Organizers kindly request six-weeks lead time and an audience of at least 50 people. To request a speaker, click here: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Affiliate/Houston-Speakers- Bureau-Form_UCM_316657_Form.jsp

Jan 30 – Feb. 5, 2018:

Macy’s Wear Red Sale:
The Go Red for Women® national sponsor, Macy’s, will again offer all-day savings to customers that purchase a Red Dress Pin for $3.00. If customers purchase the pin or wear red they will receive a special 25% savings discount. Macy’s will donate 100% of all pin sales to Go Red for Women® – and the funds stay local! So shop your area Houston Macy’s that week!

Feb.2, 2018:

The 15 th Annual National Wear Red Day:
Wear Red Day:
Show your support by wearing red on Friday, Feb. 2, and throughout the month to build awareness and inspire action. #GoRedAndGive

Red Buildings:
Many Houston institutions will celebrate National Wear Red Day on Feb. 2 and Heart Month by turning their building red. Houston City Hall will light up its walls with up lighting, while buildings around the City of Houston, The Woodlands, and other suburban areas will go red.

Feb. 3, 2018:

Houston Heart Ball at Hilton Americas-Houston:
AHA hosts the most anticipated social event of the season, the 2018 The Beat Goes On Heart Ball chaired by Cathy & Joe Cleary. This elegant, black-tie event will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction. For more information visit: houstonheartball.heart.org.

Feb. 23, 2018:

Bay Area Go Red for Women Luncheon at South Shore Harbour Resort and Conference Center:
Join the AHA as we celebrate the fight against the women’s greatest health threat with the annual Bay Area Go Red for Women® Luncheon. This year’s luncheon will bring back the annual Heart Throb competition and the third annual Survivors with Style Fashion Show. For more information, visit www.bayareagored.ahaevents.org.

Feb. 24, 2018:

Montgomery County Heart Ball at Woodlands Waterway Marriott:
AHA hosts one of the best parties in town, the 2018 An Exhilarating Evening at the Grand Prix Heart Ball chaired by Marina & Bryan Frenchak. The elegant, black-tie event will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction. For more information and tickets visit: montgomerycountyheartball.ahaevents.org.

 


About Go Red For Women
In the United States, cardiovascular diseases kill approximately 1 in 3 women each year. Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women. Cardiovascular diseases in the U.S. kill approximately one woman every 80 seconds. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events may be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s and CVS Health, with additional support from our cause supporters. For more information, please visit GoRedForWomen.org or call 1-888- MY-HEART (1-888- 694-3278).

CONNECT WITH US VIA SOCIAL MEDIA:
Find out more about American Heart Month and local Go Red For Women® activities by visiting GoRedForWomen.org and join the conversation with the #GoRedAndGive hashtag. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ahahouston.

The Silent Killer

February 1st, 2017

Rhonda De La Moriniere is an advocate for the American Heart Association

Mom of three shares how she survived 20 years of undiagnosed heart disease

For over 20 years, Rhonda De La Moriniere, a Bay Area mother of three, has been battling an internal war.

“I began having vertigo in my mid-twenties that was just explained away as being related to ear infections from my teens,” said De La Moriniere. “As the years went on, the symptoms became more pronounced.”

Those symptoms ranged from shortness of breath, pressure in her chest, numbness in her fingers and toes, fatigue, headaches, heat intolerance and low blood pressure.

De La Moriniere continued to see different doctors for years, being diagnosed with an ear infection, a kidney infection, Multiple Sclerosis and the autoimmune disorder, Lupus.

Then in 2013, she experienced something that forever changed her life. De La says, “I was an elementary school counselor and was at the school when I experienced weakness and numbing in my left hand. My left side became noticeably weaker and I lost all awareness for a moment and I felt suddenly confused. ”

It was then that a friend told De La Moriniere that it was time to go to the hospital. “She told me to get to the hospital as soon as possible and her brother in law [ a neurologist] would be waiting for me. He ended up being the one to finally diagnose my blood clotting disorder,” said De La Moriniere. “Had I not listened to her, I’m pretty sure I would not be here today.”

Not only did De La Moriniere have a blood clotting disorder, she had suffered a stroke and had been suffering from strokes for years. She had a “condition in which the two valve flaps of the mitral valve do not close smoothly or evenly, but instead prolapse or bulge upward into the left atrium.” On top of that, she had a congenital heart defect called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO).

PFO is a hole in the heart that is “in the wall between the left and right atria of every human fetus. This hole allows blood to bypass the fetal lungs,” per the American Stroke Association (ASA). For 75 percent of Americans, the hole closes on its own once the newborn takes its first breaths. But according to the ASA, for the remaining 35 percent the hole does not close, causing the PFO.

Through the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, research is currently being funded to properly diagnose and treat congenital heart defects at birth.

One early test that’s helped find congenital heart defects is a simple exam called pulse oximetry, which can “measure oxygen levels through a toe or finger monitor.”

“I was overjoyed to learn that they were making sure that every baby is now screened for PFO in the U.S. Until I began to link up with the AHA, I never realized how many younger women, like myself have strokes. I am so happy that there are others out there taking notice and advocating for us,” said De La Moriniere.

Over the past five years, the AHA and other groups have lobbied to pass measures in almost every state requiring the exam before babies leave the hospital.

The AHA and The Children’s Heart Foundation jointly committed to at least $22.5 million over the next two years to support innovative research projects on CHDs.

“How many of us have slipped through the cracks because we are not yet experiencing the benefits that AHA has provided?” said De La Moriniere. “I want to convey to women to take responsibility for their own lives and health. Your heart and brain matter! Do your research. Listen to yourself!”

De La Moriniere will be joining the Bay Area Go Red for Women Luncheon on Friday, Feb. 24 at the South Shore Harbour Resort & Conference Center to help educate more women on their risk factors for heart disease and stroke. To find out more or to buy tickets, visit www.bayareagored.heart.org.