One woman dies every minute from heart disease

Released: 02/03/16

Susan Heitman, RN, DNP, chief nursing officer at Winneshiek Medical Center, wears red in support of women’s heart health, and invites the community to do the same on Friday, February 5 for National Wear Red Day®.
WMC staff Go Red for women's heart health.

Winneshiek Medical Center participates in National Wear Red Day® Friday, February 5

To raise awareness among local women that heart disease is their #1 health threat, Winneshiek Medical Center invites community members to wear red on Friday, February 5, 2016 in recognition of National Wear Red Day®.

According to Susan Heitman, RN, DNP, chief nursing officer at Winneshiek Medical Center, “A common myth suggests women are not at risk for heart disease. In fact, heart disease is just as much of a reality for women as it is for men.”

Although significant progress has been made in increasing awareness among women that heart disease is their #1 killer, most fail to make the connection between its risk factors and their personal risk of developing heart disease. Heitman says, “While heart disease risk begins to rise in middle age, heart disease develops over time and can start at a young age, even in the teen years. It’s never too early, or too late, to assess your lifestyle and take action to prevent and control the risk factors for heart disease.”

The American Heart Association offers the following tips to improve your health:


If you smoke, resolve to quit. Smoking cigarettes puts you at much greater risk for a heart attack, and it’s the single greatest cause of preventable death in the United States. If you’re a woman who uses birth control pills and you smoke, your risk is even higher. When you stop smoking — no matter how long or how much you’ve smoked — your risk of heart attack drops.


Have your blood pressure checked each time you visit your doctor. High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it has no symptoms. After age 64, a much higher percentage of women than men have high blood pressure.


Get up and get moving. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, which comes out to 30 minutes a day for five days. Regular physical activity helps reduce your risk of heart attack, heart disease and stroke.


Obesity isn’t an appearance issue, it’s a health issue. Obesity is a major health problem for all Americans, including children. If you’re obese or overweight, you have a much higher risk of developing heart disease.


Know your numbers to know your risk. A simple blood test can show if your blood cholesterol level is desirable, borderline-high or high.


Have your glucose levels checked regularly. Scientific research funded by the American Heart Association has shown that people in several ethnic groups seem to be more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, which puts them at greater risk for heart disease and stroke:

  • Hispanics
  • African-Americans
  • Native Americans
  • Asians (especially South Asians)

Winneshiek Medical Center offers Walk-in Wellness lab testing to help patients over age 18 monitor their cholesterol and glucose levels without a doctor’s order and at an economical cost. Walk-in Wellness lab testing is offered in WMC’s Decorah, Ossian and Mabel locations.

For more information about women and heart disease, and how to make health and lifestyle changes to reduce your risk, make an appointment with a primary care provider at Winneshiek Medical Center. Call 563-382-2911 to schedule, or request an appointment online at

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