The American Heart Association has chosen the color red to draw attention to the fight against heart disease in women. It is a misconception that heart attacks only happen to men. According to the American Heart Association, "one in three women will die of heart disease or stroke this year." With education and lifestyle changes heart related incidence can be prevented 80% of the time.
So today, as we stood with law makers and influential people within our community to share a portion of her story as well as the stories of seven other women, we were excited to help raise awareness about something that has become quite personal to us over the past two years. Here, First Lady, Susan Hutchinson is speaking to the crowd.
For us, a Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) is what has made this Go Red movement so personal. The Pulse Oximetry law in Arkansas (of taking a newborns pulse ox reading as part of the initial exams after birth) did not come into existence until after Ava Jane was born. Had she had a pulse ox test or a four extremity blood pressure check, her CHD may have been found much sooner. "Babies with undetected Critical Congenital Heart Defects (of which Coarctation of the Aorta is considered a CCHD) have a significant increased risk of disability or death" according to the AHA. About nine of every 1,000 babies are born with a congenital heart defect--which is the leading cause of infant deaths in the United States. It's amazing that out of all the books and magazines I read while pregnant with each of our four children that I had never known or read anything about the prevalence of heart defects!
So today, as we shared a portion of Ava Jane's story, it was neat to stand there with others who have faced similar and some even more difficult situations then us. To be apart of something that has effected so many people young and old, black and white was really a great experience. Heart disease and Congenital Heart Defects do not discriminate so, until there's a cure, until research provides answers to the how and why and what can be done to prevent these types of problems --we must continue to raise awareness.
Here are the staggering statistics:
-Heart Disease is the No. 1 killer of women, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined
-Heart disease causes 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every minute
-An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease
-Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease
-Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease
-While 1 in 31 American women dies from breast cancer each year, 1 in 3 dies of heart disease