Red Dress affair targets heart disease

Compared to other Caribbean countries, Cayman has a higher than average incidence of cardio-vascular disease.

Chrissie Tompson Memorial Hospital

Nurse Lorna Taylor from the Chrissie Tompson Memorial Hospital checks Judith Swain blood sugar. Photo: Jewel Levy

This was part of visiting US cardiologist Edward Peron’s report at the Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s Red Dress Affair held Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

The luncheon event was targeted at women ages 40 to 60 to raise awareness of how lifestyle choices can impact the risk of developing heart disease.

According to Dr. Peron, Cayman rates higher than countries such as Belize, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic based on a 1997 study.

In a slide presentation, Dr. Person demonstrated the many issues that lead to heart disease especially in women.

‘Being a woman 55 or older increases the risk of heart attack,’ he said. ‘Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, (being) overweight, diabetes and not enough physical exercise can also lead to this number-one killer of women.

In most cases, women have no idea a heart attack is coming, Dr. Peron said.

‘Of women that have had heart attacks, 66 per cent have no previous symptoms.

‘Women underestimate the seriousness of heart disease. One reason may be the common misconception is that heart disease can be cured with surgery,’ stated Dr. Peron.

Each year 16.7 million people worldwide die of CVD. Of that, 8.6 million are women. By 2020, 26 million will die of CVD, stated Dr. Peron.

He also gave information on how to find out if you are at risk of heart disease.

‘Develop a good relationship with your doctor, discuss your health and history of heart disease in the family – ask questions.’

Prior to sitting down to lunch at the Red Dress Affair, attendees visited a variety of booths promoting wellness and healthy lifestyles, and listened to Dr. Peron’s presentation on the Heart Truth – that heart disease is the number one killer in women – and took in a mother/daughter fashion show. There was also a silent auction table to benefit the Cancer Society.

A little red dress has become the international symbol for awareness of heart disease in women. Women across the country wear red to unite in the national observance and to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk for heart disease.

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