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Tanner’s ‘Red for a Reason’ Event to Spotlight Women’s Heart Health


Heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women, accounting for one in every three women’s deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Every minute, another American woman loses her life to heart disease.

The reason so many women lose their lives to heart disease isn’t just a matter of prevalence — it’s a matter of myth: almost half of American women believe heart disease is a “man’s disease.” Moreover, heart attacks often don’t present the same symptoms in women as men, so when a potentially deadly heart attack happens, women are less likely to seek care quickly.

On Saturday, Feb. 23, Tanner Health System and Tanner Heart Care are hoping to help women throughout west Georgia and east Alabama better understand the risks and signs of heart disease — including some steps they can take to reduce their risk — at “Red for a Reason” at Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton.

The morning will start with free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, and will feature heart-health displays from the health system and area vendors. Giveaways will be available and door prizes will be awarded leading up to a free heart-healthy lunch and presentation from a board-certified cardiac expert, Shazib Khawaja, MD.

“Women often feel like they’re always taking care of others,” said Dr. Khawaja. “Spouses, children, friends, other loved ones — and they put their own health on the back-burner to help everyone else. But up to 80 percent of all heart attacks and strokes could be prevented by making relatively simple lifestyle changes, and the odds of surviving a heart attack or stroke climb dramatically when women know what symptoms to look for and when they should seek medical care.”

Dr. Khawaja is board-certified in cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology by the American Board of Medicine and serves as chief of interventional cardiology for Tanner Health System and medical operations leader for Tanner’s heart and vascular services. He earned his medical degree from the University of South Alabama. After completing a residency in internal medicine at Albany Medical College in Albany, New York., Dr. Khawaja completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical School and an interventional cardiology subspecialty fellowship at the University of Minnesota/Minneapolis Heart Institute. Dr. Khawaja also received advanced training in peripheral vascular interventions at the Arizona Heart Institute.

Door prizes and vendor demonstrations will be provided by a host of community partners.

“I hope women will call their friends and make a morning out of this,” said Dr. Khawaja. “More than that, though, I hope someone will learn something that might save her life. The risk for heart disease among women is real, but with a little initiative and insight, we can get in front of it and save lives.”

Registration for the event is required. Women can register online at www.tanner.org/RedForAReason at any time prior to the event, though the number of free cholesterol screenings and seats for the lunch are limited so those who are interested should register early.

More information on Tanner’s heart care services is available at www.TannerHeartCare.org.

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