On Friday, Feb. 7, Horizon Health held the 7th annual Wear Red Luncheon in observance of American Heart Month at the Tingley Reception Center. A record number of women came together, dressed in red …
On Friday, Feb. 7, Horizon Health held the 7th annual Wear Red Luncheon in observance of American Heart Month at the Tingley Reception Center. A record number of women came together, dressed in red for National Red Heart day, to enjoy a catered meal and listen to a presentation on heart health.
In the past, Horizon Health has held this event at HRC, but the number of attendees has grown large enough it outgrew that event space. This year was the first time the luncheon was held at the Tingley Reception Center, as well as the first time Horizon Health was able to host both an afternoon and evening program.
It was a year of firsts for the annual event, as this year Horizon Health was able to fly in a special guest speaker for the first time. Usually presentations are done by local providers, but guest speaker Mellanie True Hills presented at both the luncheon and the evening wine, cheese and chocolate event.
Cindy Belt worked on booking Hills for the event for about a year and Horizon Health staff was excited to have her in to speak at this event.
A heart disease survivor, Hills has dedicated herself to become a heart health expert to help other women prevent the problems she had in her own life. She is the award-winning author of “A Woman’s Guide to Saving Her Own Life: The HEART Program for Health and Longevity” (which was handed out to attendees at the Wear Red Luncheon), and she recently made an appearance on the “Dr. Phil Show.” Hills has also testified before Congress and parliament about heart disease and what can be done to combat it.
Prior to working as a heart health advocate, Hills was an Internet pioneer at J.C. Penney Company, Inc. in the 1990s and the executive in charge of creating and executing Dell’s intranet vision and strategy. She was a renowned Internet visionary for many years.
A self-declared road warrior, Hills said her lifestyle left her overworked and overstressed, with no intention of slowing down.
“When you’re cruising down the information superhighway you don’t have time to listen to your heart,” she said. After catching the signs of a heart attack and having emergency heart surgery, Hills decided to use her second chance at life to help others avoid heart disease and stroke, which take nearly 3,000 lives every day in the U.S.
Hills said women’s heart attack symptoms tend to be more subtle than men’s and easier to miss. A large part of her work is dedicated to helping women learn how to listen to their heart, recognize the signs and prevent heart problems so they don’t have to deal with the
“Heart disease is forever,” Hills said. “Preventing it is better than living with everything that comes with heart disease.”
While stress is now known to be a risk factor for strokes, it was not as widely known when Hills had her stroke.
When it comes to a stroke, time lost is brain lost, said Hills, so one of a woman’s top priorities should be learning to manage her stress.
“Paying attention to your body can make such a difference,” she said.
There is plenty of information out there about stress, and people talk about what they are supposed to do all the time. Hills, however, thinks health is about more than trying to live a stress-free life.
“It’s all about how you look at it,” she said. “You need to change your attitude about stressors. Turn bad stress into good stress and the effects will be different.”
Choosing gratitude and positivity will help fight off the kind of stress that is damaging to health. Hills also knows what it’s like to try to do everything alone and not ask for help.
“You need to communicate clearly what you need so other people can help you because they can’t read your mind,” she said. “Release control.”
Hills recommends women take the time to identify stressors in their life, which ones contribute to the highest levels of stress, and create plans to better manage that stress. After 21 days of sticking to a stress plan, management techniques will become habit.
“We can’t avoid stress,” said Hills, “so you need to learn to manage it.”
As Albert Einstein said, “The clever person solves the problem. A wise person prevents it.”
If women see anything they think might be signs of heart problems, they should get it checked.
“Do you think you’re not at risk?” asked Hills. “So did I. Listen to your heart, put yourself first, and know the signs to make sure you’re still here tomorrow.”