Mercyhurst dedicates day for heart awareness

According to the American Heart Association, nearly 200,000 women die every year from heart attacks. That’s five times the number of women killed by breast cancer annually.

Every year the American Heart Association dedicates a day to spreading awareness of heart disease prevention and heart health in women called “Go Red for Women.”

This year, on Friday, Feb. 3, Judy Smith, Ph.D., director of the Cohen Health Center, is planning to celebrate the day on campus.

“Most people think that heart disease is more of a male thing,” said Smith, “but it’s the number one killer of women.”

As part of the Go Red observance, the health center will offer free blood pressure screenings to all students and faculty on campus.

“All of our nurses will be in to help provide blood pressure screenings,” Smith said.

Everyone who receives a free blood pressure screening during the event will receive a free raffle ticket for a chance to win the grand prize of a free Swedish massage from LECOM health center.

In addition to the grand prize, many more items have been donated by local businesses and will be available to win. Chances to win these other items will be sold for a small fee.

“It will be like a Chinese auction,” said Smith.

Prizes include steak knives from CutCo, gift certificates to Teresa’s Deli and free pizza from Parkhurst.
All of the proceeds from the event go to the Erie chapter of the American Heart Association.

Although this event is focused toward making women more aware of heart disease, men are welcome to attend the event as well.

“The blood pressure screenings don’t take very long,” said Smith. “Our main goal is to educate about heart disease, and we’re trying to make it fun.”

Smith encourages everyone to take simple steps everyday toward improving their heart health.
“Increase exercise and lower the sodium in your diet. Park your car a little further away, just simple things can go a long way,” said Smith.

“Even as 20-year-olds there are benefits to being aware. It pays off … it’s never too early or never too late.”
The Red event will be hosted at the Cohen Health Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3. It is open to everyone.

For more information, contact Smith at extension 2037 or jsmith@