Women who thrive after heart disease deliver red scarves to new patients, offer counsel

KANSAS CITY, Mo.-- In the United States, 43.8 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the number one killer of women, claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined.

Friday, February 2nd is National Go Red Day for Women – a day designed to raise awareness about the issue of heart disease and educate women and their families on how they can protect their heart health.

At Saint Luke's Muriel I Kauffman Women’s Heart Center on Friday, Saint Luke's Pathway to Purpose volunteers visited patients at the Heart Institute, delivering handmade red scarves. The volunteers are all women who have survived heart disease.

The delivery gives them a chance to meet with women, many whom are facing the fact that they have a heart issue for the first time. They offer support, answer questions and most importantly, show them it's possible to survive and thrive.

Saint Luke's is joining the National SCAD Alliance. SCAD, Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, is a very rare, acute heart attack which strikes mostly young, healthy women who have just given birth. The alliance is creating a data registry so we can learn more about the condition and what could be done to help prevent it.

"What’s so important is to recognize any new symptom that we can’t explain. Don’t discount heart. No matter how old or young you are. Heart attack and stroke are the leading cause of death of women over the age of 35. But SCAD, it affects women much younger," Dr. Tracy Stevens, Saint Luke's Mid America Institute.

Saint Luke's Muriel Kauffman Women's Heart Center has been leading the way in women’s heart health for more than 20 years and actually was the first center dedicated to Women’s heart health and has served as the model for centers across the country. On February 21st, Saint Luke's is hosting a town hall meeting for anyone who wants to learn more about SCAD. All SCAD patients and their families are welcome.