To bring awareness to the county about American Heart Month, the Grundy County Health Department has gone “red for women.”
“(February) is all about women’s health,” said Dana Cheshareck, health educator for the Health Department. “Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.”
Nationwide, 2,200 people die every day from cardiovascular disease. In 2011, 114 people died in Grundy County from heart disease.
For the month of February, the Health Department, located in the Grundy County Administration Center, has displayed about 20 red dresses in the building’s atrium. The dresses, donated by Health Department employees, Still Stylin’ in Morris and the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in Morris, range in size and style.
“They serve as a red-alert to women that heart disease doesn’t care what you wear,” Cheshareck said.
The display and awareness efforts are geared more toward women because the disease is a silent killer for women.
“The days go by so fast that people don’t take into account the little things, especially their health,” the health educator said. “With busy schedules, it’s hard to think of something you can’t physically see. You can’t physically see your heart or know what’s going on underneath your system.”
Getting blood pressure checks and speaking with a physician are keys to knowing what is going on inside the body and preventing heart disease.
Cheshareck said anyone can get their blood pressure checked at the Health Department five days a week. Walk-ins are welcome from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Some things like high blood pressure can be hereditary, but other causes of heart disease are environmental, Cheshareck said.
“It’s what you eat, what you take in, what you’re breathing, your work environment, your stress level,” she said.
By simply having a personal stress-reliever, people can help prevent heart disease.
Throughout the month, the Health Department has raised awareness in the community about heart disease with the red dresses.
Within their department, they have also held a healthy potluck, a heart quiz, and will have a raffle at the end of the month.
Health Department employees are also wearing red every Friday this month, along with a red dress sticker.
“We’re trying to make health education more apparent to the community,” Cheshareck said.