MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center employees kicked off American Heart Month by celebrating National Wear Red Day on Friday, Feb. 1. Dressed in their best red attire, hospital employees gathered to form a giant “human heart” to raise awareness of the No. 1 killer of American women and to support the millions of women affected by heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women each year, yet more women still believe that their number one threat is breast cancer. By supporting National Wear Red Day, the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center hopes to raise awareness of this disease, which is 80 percent preventable with proper education and lifestyle changes.

“For a long time, heart disease has been thought of as a bigger threat to men than women,” says Cindy Peters, RN, MSN, ACP, nurse practitioner, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Medical Center. “The fact is that women are equally, if not more, affected by heart disease than men. This lack of awareness makes heart disease more deadly in women because the symptoms are often ignored until they become very serious.”

While both men and women show traditional symptoms of heart disease, such as chest pains or heart palpitations, women often show additional symptoms, such as fatigue, soreness in the arms or shoulders and back pain. These symptoms can be easily dismissed by people who don’t know the warning signs of heart disease. By familiarizing women with the various types of heart disease and their symptoms, Long Beach Medical Center is supporting the American Heart Association’s mission to prevent up to one fourth of annual deaths caused by heart disease.

Long Beach Medical Center offers a comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation for women and men that focuses on early detection and prevention strategies to improve an individual’s life-long health and well-being. Please call (562) 933-2460 to schedule a comprehensive $55 cardiovascular screening.