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Ruby Hope represents Go Red For Women as a national spokesperson
ST. PETERSBURG – Last month, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women announced the 2016-17 “Real Women” national spokespeople. St. Petersburg resident and heart attack survivor Ruby Hope is one of the 11 women selected from a nationwide pool of nominations to represent the Go Red For Women movement.
This group of women from across the country will share their personal stories and encourage women to take a proactive role in their health by knowing their family history and knowing their personal health numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index).
For years, Hope – who is a nurse – raised awareness about heart disease through her sorority and church. But it wasn’t until she was diagnosed with coronary artery disease and had a heart attack that she took her own heart health seriously.
Hope’s heart attack was the wake-up call she needed. Through cardiac rehab, she learned to listen to her body and put her health first. She transformed her diet, doubled her cardiovascular activity and incorporated resistance training to build strength.
“I feel like I’m 30 years old,” said Hope, who turned 57 this year. “I didn’t realize how sick I was until I started feeling better. You need to take your health seriously. Just because high blood pressure runs in your family doesn’t mean you don’t need to treat it and work with your doctor to change your lifestyle.”
Heart disease and stroke cause one in three women’s death each year, and cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women. The good news is that 80 percent of these diseases are preventable through lifestyle and education. Nearly 90 percent of women involved with Go Red For Women have made at least one healthy behavior change, and one-third have talked with their doctors about developing heart health plans.
“A patient who understands their family history and knows their numbers has a more complete picture of their heart-health and is better able to have a meaningful conversation about their health in the exam room,” said Dr. Debbie Rinde-Hoffman, Medical Director of the Tampa General Hospital Cardiac Transplant Program. “That complete picture is vital for accurately diagnosing and treating heart disease before it’s too late.”
Hope encourages others to know their numbers and to understand their risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
“I’m living proof that knowledge is power,” said Hope. “By knowing your family history, as well as knowing and managing your personal health numbers, you could be taking action today that could save your life tomorrow.”
Read Hope’s full story and learn more about Go Red For Women at www.GoRedForWomen.org.