Did you know that women’s heart health research is 35 years behind that of men? When it comes to heart disease, women are under-studied, under-diagnosed and under-treated. At our fourth annual Hope, Health & Humor event held Aug. 8, 2019, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF) stressed that now is the time to understand and #ResearchHer!
More than 200 women across the age spectrum — from their 20s and into their 80s — enjoyed an inspirational evening filled with a crafter’s marketplace, delicious food and drink, and powerful messages of hope and health. Lee Wolfe Blum, author of Brave is the New Beautiful, shared her personal story of overcoming deep depression, a life-threatening eating disorder and other challenges and helped empower attendees to step out in brave confidence. An interactive dialogue with Minneapolis Heart Institute® cardiologists Dr. Courtney Baechler, Dr. Retu Saxena and Dr. Xiaoyi Teng capped off the evening and encouraged women to know their risk factors and take control of their heart health.
A huge thank you to our sponsors for the evening: Medtronic Foundation, The Marsh, Boston Scientific’s Close the Gap and Gray Plant Mooty. Thanks also to the crafters from the Minneapolis Craft Market for donating a percentage of their sales and to all of our attendees who graciously donated more than $5,000 that evening to support women’s heart health research and education!
Here are the top five takeaways from the evening:
#1 – Be vigilant about your heart disease risks your entire life. A woman’s heart disease risk is cumulative and increases as you age. In addition to traditional heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol and high blood pressure that are shared with men, women also face unique risk factors related to pregnancy conditions, depression, menopause, autoimmune disorders and more.
#2 – Know your heart disease risk. Reduce your risk. Know the symptoms of a heart attack. Learn more.
#3 – Find social connections and opportunities for open, honest communication so you don’t feel alone with whatever struggles you face. Anxiety, depression and stress are big risk factors for heart disease; one-third of all heart disease is caused by mental health. Loneliness stresses the heart and the entire cardiovascular system. “Life is a topography map; you might be down in the valley, but you can get back on top.” — Lee Wolfe Blum
#4 – Find the courage to be the real you. Every woman can step out in brave confidence and connect authentically at a heart level by leaning into three postures: a) Develop a practice of health, b) Develop a spirit of hope, and c) Develop a mindset of abundance. “Hope leaves you brave, eyes up and forward, positive, healthy, life, calm, confident.” — Lee Wolfe Blum
#5 – Consider participating in research and/or supporting it with a donation. Women are not just small men, but for decades, women were excluded from heart health research in order to limit risks of research to women and children. For many years, the results of research on men were applied to women, but we now know that doesn’t work. Less than three in 10 women are represented in clinical trials and MHIF is working to change that. We have several enrolling clinical trials for a variety of heart conditions from valvular heart disease to prevention. Please consider participating in research.