Union wearing red to raise heart health awareness

SEATTLE – Machinist Union District Lodge 751 officers and staff will wear red clothing on Friday as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness of heart disease, particularly in women.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women,” said Grace Holland, who led the Wear Red Day effort as chairwoman of the District 751 Women’s Committee. “We need to do more to make sure we’re taking care of ourselves.”

Heart disease affects both men and women, but women who have gone through menopause are more prone to develop it, in part because their body’s production of estrogen stops.

As a result, about one woman in four will die from heart disease, studies show. And two-thirds of women who have heart attacks never fully recover.

To combat this, that National Heart Lung and Blood Institute – which organizes the Wear Red Day campaign nationally – recommends that women speak to their doctors about heart health if they have any of these risk factors:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a family history of early heart disease
  • Being older than 55

If you have one or more of these risk factors, talk to your doctor, and tell him or her that you want to work toward improving your heart health. Keep track of your treatment to ensure it’s in line with the latest recommendations and that it’s keeping your risk factors under control.

Be open with your doctor, and answer questions truthfully, and keep it simple by making sure your doctor explains treatment options in terms you understand.

Details are available online at www.hearttruth.gov.

Protecting your heart can be as simple as taking brisk walks, eating healthy foods like vegetables and getting the support you need to maintain a healthy weight, said Holland. “Wear Red Day is a way for all of us to get started.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 31,000 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. As part of their community service, members of the Machinists Volunteer Program built their 300th wheelchair ramp in 2011 while other volunteers collected more than $263,000 for Guide Dogs of America, the union’s charity of choice.

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