MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Women aboard the Combat Center were able to gain awareness and preventive knowledge of heart disease during a ‘Red Dress Gala’ at the community center, Feb. 27, 2014.
The event, sponsored by the Combat Center’s Lifestyle, Insight, Networking, Knowledge and Skills program, sought to educate women on heart disease and the steps that can be taken to lower their risk of it. Women were encouraged to wear red as a symbol of awareness of the disease, which was identified as the number one killer of women in America.
“Heart disease can permanently damage your heart and your life,” said Lt. Cmdr. Veronica Bigornia, family physician, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital. “But, you can take action if you start today.”
The audience was educated on the nature of the disease and the toll it takes on the body, such as heart attacks, heart failures and clogs of the arteries.
After the attendees were made familiar of the threat this disease poses, they were told how they could stand up to it. Risk factors that can be controlled for the benefit of lowering heart disease risk included smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol and weight.
“Young women need to take steps to protect their health,” Bigornia said. “[Heart disease] can start at a young age and develop gradually.”
According to Bigornia, living a tobbaco-free lifestyle and being physically active approximately two to three hours a week are strong ways to lower the risk of heart disease.
“You have to start somewhere to be healthy,” Bigornia said. “Set realistic goals, and find a [companion] so that it’s motivating.”
In between lectures, the L.I.N.K.S. trainers raffled off donated gifts to the women in attendance. They included health and beauty products, jewelry and gift cards.
Following Bigornia’s lecture on heart disease, Cmdr. Wendy Stone, public health nurse, RBNH and Lt. j. g. Rachel Smith, dietician, RBNH, spoke on the topic of proper nutrition.
Under their lecture was knowledge about foods beneficial to lowering the risk of heart disease, including salmon, walnuts, avocadoes and olive oils.
“We’re starting younger and younger with women and wanting to get these healthy habits in place,” Stone said.
All three RBNH representatives remained to answer any questions regarding health habits and heart disease, and offered additional knowledge to the women now prepared to fight the disease.
“I really enjoyed this information because the emphasis on [womens’] health and lifestyles was great,” said Julie Cramer, spouse of Capt. Jacob Cramer, communications officer, Tactical Training Exercise Control Group. “As a woman, it’s nice to have events like this with other women to be healthy and supportive of each other.”
The event concluded with a fashion show of coming clothing styles at the base exchange, displayed in none other than the color red.