PARKERSBURG – A sea of red can be seen at the Parkersburg Art Center on Friday.
A group of women and a few men gathered to talk about women and heart health at the WVU Medicine Camden Clark Foundation’s Women’s Heart Luncheon Friday in honor of National Heart Month.
The theme of the event was “The Art of the Heart”. Almost everyone in attendance was dressed in red in honor of the event.
When attendees entered, they could take an art walk, where they could view tables full of products made by local artisans. During the event, there was also a raffle, where people could win small Christmas trees with hearts that were used as centerpieces for the tables. They can also win a Kate Spade bag, red, of course.
WVU Chief of Medicine Camden Clark Sharileda Vance gave a heart health talk about mind, body and spirit during the luncheon.
Dr. Gregory Gnegy, a cardiologist at Parkersburg Cardiology Associates, gave a talk about women and heart disease and how heart attacks present in women.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. It is the main killer of women. In 2020, 350,000 women died from heart disease. One in five deaths among women was heart disease. Gnegy said.
He said that women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men, and that in women up to 25% of the time there are no symptoms of a heart attack. These symptoms include arm/shoulder pain, nausea, indigestion, shortness of breath and palpitations.
Gnegy emphasized during his speech that because of the differences in heart attack in women and that it is the leading killer of women, if a woman thinks something is wrong, she should go to her doctor and be persistent in getting treatment.
“The presentation (of a heart attack in women) can be very different, so listen to your body, listen to your symptoms, talk, talk.” Vance said.
Gnegy emphasized that if you are a woman and think something is wrong, be persistent with your doctor.
Candace Jones, a patient of Gnegy’s, spoke at the Heart Luncheon about how she had a heart attack.
Jones said she is 74 years old and an active individual. She rides a bike. She was on a bike ride in May 2023 when she felt a tightness in her throat. She didn’t feel an elephant sitting on her chest like some people describe a heart attack. She felt so out and about that night and the next day, but put off seeing her doctor until October. Her doctor referred her to Gnegy and it was discovered that she had a heart attack during that bike ride and that she had a triple blockage in her heart.
Jones said many times women are the first to encourage friends and family to get a health issue checked out, but when it comes to themselves, they put it off.
“Do what you do for your family and friends,” Jones said. “Do it for you. Listen to your body. Know your numbers. Pay attention to the things that are happening.”
Vance spoke at the Heart Luncheon about the connection between the brain and the heart and how people’s emotions and mental focus affect their heart health. She said stress can raise a person’s heart rate and blood pressure, extreme emotions can trigger a heart attack, and depression and deep grief can lead to heart failure.
Because of this, people need to manage their mental and emotional energy through strategies such as naming emotions, practicing mindfulness, breathing exercises, meditation, being present in the moment, and laughing.
“Aligning energy management in all energy positions to care for your figurative and anatomical heart leads to living your best and becoming or being your best self.” Vance said. “Maximizing the health of your anatomical heart leads to maximizing your figurative heart in all directions.”
To learn more about cardiac services at WVU Medicine Camden Clark, visit https://wvumedicine.org/camden-clark/services/cardiac-care/.
Michelle Dillon can be reached at [email protected]