GO RED FOR WOMEN

By Janelle Hanson, communications specialist, University Marketing & Communications

GO RED FOR WOMEN EVENT AT THE U

Come out and join everyone on Legacy Bridge with FOX 13 and Big Budah at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 2. We’d love to show viewers a sea of red on the bridge during the 11 a.m. news broadcast. Free red beanies will be given away (while supplies last). Meet on the east end of the bridge. U shuttle buses stop near the bridge.

Note: Official lighting of the Legacy Bridge and Block U will be at dusk.

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Suzanne Winchester had a two-day-old baby at home when she lost feeling in half of her body and her symptoms continued to get worse.

“I started feeling fuzzy and couldn’t talk well. I called my OB and then went to the E.R.,” she said.

She knew something was wrong, but didn’t agree with what doctors were initially telling her, it was likely Multiple Sclerosis. What she wouldn’t know for nearly six weeks is she had suffered a stroke caused by a small blood clot after her delivery that went to her brain through a hole in her heart – a congenital heart defect she didn’t even know she had. She was 30 years old.

“After six weeks, I was finally able to transfer and see someone in the University of Utah’s Neurology Department and get some answers and a treatment plan,” Winchester said. “It was a really scary and long-drawn out health scare, but for me, being at the U turned out to be a complete lifesaver.”

According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year and 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education.

Michael Adjei-Poku, MD, associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at the U, was part of Winchester’s care team.

“Find out your blood pressure, cholesterol, Body Mass Index (BMI) and blood sugar levels. Then make changes to your lifestyle. Eat healthy, get regular exercise, decrease your salt intake and your numbers will improve if you are at risk,” he said. “While your genes are the loaded gun, your lifestyle is the trigger. Living a healthy lifestyle can prolong your life, even if you are predisposed to heart disease because of your genes.”

The Go Red for Women movement is all about education and awareness. This year on National Wear Red Day, Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, the University of Utah Health is partnering with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to raise awareness about women and heart disease and stroke. The U will be lighting the Legacy Bridge red and turning the Block U solid red. Plan to wear red, encourage family and friends to wear red, schedule a physical with your physician if you are overdue and take small steps toward living a healthier lifestyle to improve health and to reduce risk for heart disease and stroke.

“Spread that message of awareness,” Winchester said. “Go get your heart checked because these issues can happen to anyone and they can show up anytime. Just give yourself that peace of mind and see your doctor.”

To be part of the Go Red For Women movement, visit goredforwomen.org.