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Cardinal Health CHRO Ola Snow and U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty take on women’s heart health


Today, at a virtual gathering in Columbus, Ohio, the American Heart Association (AHA) of Central Ohio announced that Ola Snow, Cardinal Health Chief Human Resources Officer (upper left), and U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH3) (lower left), will co-chair the 2021-2022 Columbus Go Red for Women campaign. For the next 12 months, Snow and Beatty will work to raise awareness about heart health disparities in women and minorities and help generate funds for lifesaving cardiovascular disease research.

“Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women each year – claiming a life about every 80 seconds,” Snow said. “Heart disease is the number one killer in women, yet a study published in February 2020 in the AHA journal Circulation found that women represented fewer than 40 percent of heart research participants.”

Snow is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion, within Cardinal Health and in the Columbus-area community. She is also a long-time supporter of the AHA and serves on the Go Red for Women National Leadership Council – a group of senior female executives who work to bring greater heart health awareness to millions of women.

“Cardinal Health has supported the work of the AHA for many years,” Snow said. “We are committed to removing barriers to provide an equal playing field – because lives are at stake. Through our collaboration with the AHA, Cardinal Health is focusing on health equity, education, wellness, mental health and overall well-being for our employees and the community.”

Beatty said, “We know that women of color are at greater risk of heart disease. Black women have a higher chance of dying from heart disease and at a younger age, compared to white women. Yet only 36% of African American women know that heart disease is their greatest health risk. With the help of the AHA, we will raise awareness and keep our mothers, sisters and friends from becoming a statistic.”

Many minority women are also impacted by social determinants of health, including lack of nutritious foods, safe housing, educational opportunities and affordable quality health care, all of which can make these women more vulnerable to heart disease and stroke.

The AHA reports more concerning statistics for women:

  • Women age 45 and older are less likely than men of that age group – 74 percent vs. 81 percent − to survive a year after their first heart attack.
  • In women, heart disease is often a silent killer – nearly two-thirds of women who died suddenly had no previous symptoms.
  • Nearly 49 percent of African American and Black women 20 years of age or older have heart disease.
  • Women are less likely than men to receive aggressive diagnosis and treatment for heart disease.
  • Over the past 10 years, women’s awareness that heart disease is their number one cause of death has decreased significantly among younger women and women of color.
  • In addition, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 19 million women in the U.S. (one in five) between the ages of 18 and 64 are uninsured. Uninsured women are more likely to have inadequate access to care, get a lower standard of care when they are in the health system and have poorer health outcomes.

“Though we have made remarkable progress in this country in reducing the overall rates of death and disability from heart disease and stroke in men, we still have much work to do to level the playing field for women,” Snow said. “We must and will continue to work to build healthier lives for all people, free of inequity and free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.”

How to lower your chances of heart disease

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are simple steps every woman can take to help reduce her risk of heart disease:

  • Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Talk to your doctor or healthcare team about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your risk of heart disease.
  • Quit smoking. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting.
  • Discuss checking your blood cholesterol and triglycerides with your doctor.
  • Make healthy food choices: Include lots of fruits, vegetables and fiber in your daily diet, and eat more foods that are low in sodium, sugar, saturated and trans fats, and cholesterol.
  • Limit alcohol to one drink a day.
  • Manage stress levels by finding healthy ways to cope with stress.

Click here for more information from the AHA about women’s heart health.


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