GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Blue Bridge and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids will glow red Friday to remind people of the dangers of heart disease among women.
Local hospitals — University of Michigan Health-West, Corewell Health and Trinity Health — will also display red lights.
Friday is National Wear Red Day and February is American Heart Month. The Go Red for Women program works to raise awareness about heart disease, which is the No. 1 killer of women in America, and raise money for research.
The annual Go Red for Women Luncheon in Kent County will be at Watermark Country Club on Feb. 16. Its theme this year is “Be The Beat.” Organizers say women are less likely to get CPR from strangers during cardiac arrest in public than men — 39% compared to 45%, according to a 2017 study. They urged CPR training.
CPR saved Nicole Tilton’s life. Her husband thought she was having a seizure, but when she stopped breathing, he started CPR. She was rushed to the hospital and was in a coma for a few days. When she woke up, doctors told her it was cardiac arrest.
Tilton said there were no symptoms before it happened.
“It was a sudden cardiac arrest which essentially should have been a sudden cardiac death,” she said.
For women, the symptoms preceding a cardiac arrest can be nuanced — fatigue or nausea, rather than pain the chest. Many women mistake the symptoms for indigestion.
“The most important thing is that we like to say is advocate for yourself,” Jana Siminski, the executive director of the American Heart Association – West Michigan, said. “If you feel like something’s not right, make sure that you’re talking to your doctor and addressing them.”
Also this year, the American Heart Association is working with Grand Rapids Public Schools to help teach kids about heart health, reminding them to be active and eat well to stay healthy.