By Steven Penn
With February being Women’s Heart Health Month, the eighth annual Wear Red Luncheon hosted by IU Health West Hospital and Hendricks County Senior Services was held Wednesday at the Hendricks County Senior Center.
The event serves as the largest fundraiser of the year for the senior center.
Those who attended the luncheon left with plenty of useful information to keep them heart healthy for the future.
One of the big emphases of the luncheon was the education of hands-only CPR.
Josh Halon, director of cardiac and pulmonary services at IU Health West, explained to those in attendance the importance of the life saving technique.
“We are out here for a great reason and that’s to create awareness for women and heart disease,” Halon said. “More specifically, what I’m up here to talk about is kind of what ties back to that song ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ (by the Bee Gees, which was playing before the luncheon started) and to create awareness about a life saving technique that each and every one of us can learn, and that is CPR.”
He said that when administering hands-only CPR, a person should call 911, then push hard and fast in the center of the chest, using the song as a reference.
“The recommendation is to do 100 beats per minute when you’re doing CPR and ironically, ‘Staying Alive’ is 100 beats per minute,” Halon said. “If you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to do CPR, just sing ‘Staying Alive’ in your head and do CPR to that beat.”
He said anyone can learn the technique and the important thing to remember is that any amount of CPR can help.
“This is something that can be life saving, it is not something that you have to be a big tough guy to do,” Halon said. “Anything you can do ... can help save someone’s life. Even just pushing a little bit can keep blood flowing through the body.”
For those who attended, IU Health West offered the chance to practice hands-only CPR on mannequins, which clicked when the appropriate amount of pressure was being applied.
Hendricks County Senior Services Executive Director Marina Keers said she was happy to be able to partner with IU Health West again this year.
“The goal of this event is to make sure that women in our community understand the importance of heart health,” Keers said. “This year was really exciting because we added the component of the hands-only CPR training. IU Health has been really instrumental in getting that out into the community during the month of February ... culminating at the Wear Red Luncheon. We were able to train about 200 women in the technique of hands-only CPR.”
Halon shared some statistics to help put the importance of learning hands-only CPR into perspective.
“Roughly 350,000 to 400,000 people each year suffer from cardiac arrest outside of the hospital,” he said. “ ... Of those people, nearly 88 percent will have it happen in their home.”
He said with the chances of cardiac arrest occurring to a person’s loved one in their home, it is important to take the short amount of time it takes to learn hands-only CPR.
Halon said he has administered CPR four times outside of the hospital, twice on people who were 28 years of age or younger, and once on his wife in their home.
The keynote speaker was Ziad Jaradat, M.D., an interventional cardiologist with IU Health Physicians Cardiology.
Jaradat told the crowd about some of the risk factors that are attributed to cardiovascular disease.
“The (risk factor) I always like to start with is smoking — if you smoke, it’s not good,” he said.
Jaradat said when he looks at a person’s arteries, he can immediately tell whether they are a smoker.
He said the No. 2 risk factor is blood pressure. Jiradat added it’s important for a patient to take control of their blood pressure, which means checking it frequently and making sure they are living a healthy lifestyle.
He said two other main risk factors are diabetes and family history.
Jaradat said it’s also important for people to understand what the warning signs or symptoms of a heart attack are, although he stressed that they can change from person to person.
Normal symptoms include chest discomfort; discomfort in other areas of the upper body (arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or upper abdomen); shortness of breath; and others signs such as cold sweats, nausea, unusual fatigue, or dizziness. Jaradat then took questions from the audience.
Keers said she felt this year’s luncheon was a success, noting that attendance was up from previous years and that they reached their fundraising goal.
“This year was really great, we did some new things and I think Dr. Jaradat was really engaging,” she said. “We heard from a lot of people that were there (Wednesday) that they were able to take the information and do something with it. They really learned a lot yesterday. We really couldn’t have been happier.”
The luncheon sponsors were American Senior Communities, Danville Auto Service & Tire, Inc., and North Salem State Bank.
Hendricks County Senior Services is at 1201 Sycamore Lane, Danville. For more information, call 745-4303.
IU Health West Hospital is at 1111 N. Ronald Reagan Parkway, Avon. For more information, call 217-3000.