UPMC Hamot’s 12th annual expo included health screenings and heart-healthy snacks.
Anna Sienerth had only been at UPMC Hamot’s 12th annual Wear Red Women’s Heart and Health Awareness Expo for an hour Friday and had already posed for photos with her three red-clad friends, and found out her blood pressure was a little high.
A healthy heart is important to Sienerth, a 74-year-old Erie resident, partly because her son had recently suffered a heart attack.
“He’s only 51, but he’s doing fantastic, thank goodness,” Sienerth said. “I’m here to learn a little more about my body, which is important to me as I get older.”
More than 200 people attended the expo during its first two hours and at least 100 more were expected, UPMC Hamot officials said. It was held at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, 55 W. Bay Drive.
Tailoring a heart expo toward women is important because females often don’t realize it when they are suffering a heart attack, said Lynn Durst, R.N., chairwoman of the Hamot’s Wear Red Committee.
“Heart attacks have always been thought of more as a man’s disease because they tend to have the classic symptoms: chest pain, clutching their chest, falling to the ground,” Durst said. “Women tend to become short of breath and get tired. We don’t survive heart attacks as often as men do because we don’t notice the signs.”
Besides educating women on the signs of a heart attack, Hamot physicians discussed a new type of heart-valve surgery, how to reduce your risk of a stroke, and the new blood pressure guidelines.
Kelly Hayes, M.D., a Hamot cardiologist, said the new limit for normal blood pressure is now 120/80.
“If your blood pressure is a little over, say 132 over 84, you have stage 1 hypertension,” Hayes said. “It doesn’t mean you need a new medication or a higher dosage, but it’s a good time to try to get your diabetes under better control, or get more exercise, or look at your diet and maybe eat less salt.”
Expo participants also were able to find out their body-mass index, stroke risk, cardiovascular disease risk and their blood pressure. They also snacked on complementary heart-healthy foods such as red pepper hummus with vegetables, and roasted beet and goat cheese salad cups.
David Bruce can be reached at 870-1736 or by email. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ETNbruce.