Valpo Goes Red for Women

By: Contribute Last Updated: February 4, 2011

Valpo-Goes-Red-2011-1This year's annual "Go Red For Women" key event was held at Valparaiso University's Harre Union. Over 300 men and women wearing red and/or red accents, came to enjoy a heart healthy breakfast and listen to keynote speaker, Dr. Kathy Magliato.

The VU dining services created a fabulous breakfast with recipes straight from the American Heart Association Cook Book. Most of the attendees were surprised at how tasty a breakfast made with egg beaters, no sugars, and no fat could be! This year guests dined on french toast, scones, banana bread, fresh fruit, egg beaters, grilled vegetables, orange juice and a heart healthy smoothie.

Dr. Magliato has a very impressive CV, in a field dominated by men. She is one of the few female cardiothoracic surgeons in the United States. Some of the many recognitions she holds are President of the Board, Director of Women's Cardiovascular Services at St. John's Health Center, and author of "Heart Matters - A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon." She has also had articles in the LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, Cardiology Today, and many more. She has been seen on news programs and documentaries on NBC, Lifetime, and Discovery Channel to name a few. In fact tonight, February 4th, she will be seen on the ABC Barbara Walters Special: "A Matter of Life and Death" at 9pm CST. To learn more about heart disease and Dr. Magliato visit .

Valpo-Goes-Red-2011-2Dr. Magliato has a talent for bringing humor to a serious talk, while at the same time being firm in her beliefs of what people should be doing to save the lives of women. Her passion for women and heart disease is beyond compare. If you, after hearing her speak, or reading her book don't immediately make an appointment with your doctor, likely didn't speak English well. The main points she wanted women to know when they left were the risk factors, symptoms, and the numbers of women who have heart disease, many of whom are unaware until it is too late.

The risk factors include age (females over 55, males over 45,) family history (1st degree relative (parent or sibling) with heart disease,) high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, and high cholesterol, oral contraceptives, and obesity. African American women are 2.5 times more likely to have heart disease than other races. Hearth disease is 80% preventable! Though you can't change your age, family history, or ethnicity, you can make healthy lifestyle choices.

Though symptoms may bring a patient to the doctor, many women may be asymptomatic, making this a very silent disease. Symptoms may include extreme fatigue and/or shortness of breath (women may just think they are out of shape), nausea, gas like pains (indigestion), jaw and/or arm pain, subtle or no chest pain. Also, Dr. Magliato wants women to know it is not an "old women's disease" women in their teens and twenties suffer from heart disease. 1 in 2.4 women have heart disease, again, unfortunately, many women are not aware of it.

One of the most shocking statistics is the number of women who die from heart disease each year. Every 60 seconds a women is diagnosed with heart disease. Every year 2.5 million women are hospitalized with cardiovascular illness and more than 500,000 women die each year from heart disease (446,000 men die each year from heart disease.) That is more than the number of women that die from ALL types of cancers combined. Research in this area specific to women is minimal and chronically underfunded. The American Heart Association needs $4.5million to fund 26 meritorious research projects for women. Dr. Magliato oversees some of these trials, as well as leading a research team in creating artificial hearts.

What can you do? Help spread the word, you can get a free kit and send some to friends by visiting Here you can also fill out a questionnaire to find your risk of heart disease. Fill it out and take it to your physician. Donate, you can donate to the American Heart Association through this site as well. If you have means, you can become a Circle of Friends sponsor, by donating $500 and signing a pledge that states "I understand that heart disease is the number one cause of death in women aged 25 and older, and I want to help change that statistic by being a member of the Go Red For Women Circle of Friends."

Valpo-Goes-Red-2011-3Many Northwest Indiana companies are helping to fund awareness events to help prevent heart disease, but NIPSCO is going one step further. NIPSCO will provide more than $30,000 to underwrite the costs of approximately 1,067 of the American Heart Association's CPR Anytime kits. The kits will be used to implement easy-to-use, 22-minute training of CPR skills for students in junior high across NW Indiana in 2011 and beyond.

This year's Go Red For Women Committee was led by Jeanne Sommer, and committee members Belle Wieland, Christian Hanna, Christine Maassel, Diane Kemp, Heather Henderlong, Kathleen Gibson, Jennifer Peek, Kim Ranegar, and Laura Campbell. Jeanne also wanted to note, though not on the committee officially, Barb Young was a huge help. There were also countless volunteers from the various departments at Valparaiso University which were lead by the College of Nursing students they helped by selling paper "Go Red" dresses, getting the word out, and volunteering for the event.

Check out photos from the event here!