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VA Butler Healthcare staff, residents go red for heart disease awareness

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 9:18 p.m.

Staff and residents at the VA Butler Healthcare wear red every Friday in support of troops across the world, but sporting red clothing on Feb. 1 will take on another meaning as well.

The Butler County facility will host a “Go Red for Women” event to raise awareness about heart disease in female veterans.

“Heart disease is the number one killer of women,” said Karen Dunn, VA health promotion and disease-prevention program manager.

“People think that cancer could be higher, but it's not. They don't realize one in three deaths each year is related to heart disease.”

The event will feature topics such as how to quit smoking, stress management, exercise including yoga and tai chi, and how to cook healthier meals

Some veterans will speak about how heart disease has affected their families, Dunn said, including one whose mother died despite open heart surgery.

“Bad health behaviors is what is causing a lot of chronic diseases,” Dunn said, adding the top eight chronic diseases, including diabetes, strokes, cancer and arthritis, are caused by unhealthy behavior, including smoking, no exercise and poor eating habits.

She said that no matter how long a person neglected their health, changing habits can make a big difference. For example, she said, someone who quits smoking can lower their risk of heart disease by half within a year.

The Feb. 1 event is open to everyone, including veterans, employees, volunteers and the community. It will be held between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the VA Butler Healthcare auditorium, 325 New Castle Road, Butler Township.

Also, VA Butler provides comprehensive health care services specific to women Veterans' needs. Veterans can learn more by visiting www.butler.va.gov/services/womenvets.asp or calling VA Butler's Women Veterans Program Manager Brenda Sprouse at 1-800-362-8262, ext. 2756.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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