Local WomenHeart Champion empowers women to make the call

Posted May 08, 2012, at 12:22 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — “Mainers Make the Call,” a statewide initiative coordinated by Eastern Maine Medical Center with grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health, aims to educate, engage and empower women and their families to recognize the seven symptoms of a heart attack, and take action by calling 911 when these symptoms arise:

• Chest pain, discomfort, pressure or squeezing.

• Shortness of breath.

• Nausea.

• Light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

• Unusual upper body pain, or discomfort in one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck, jaw or upper part of the stomach.

• Unusual fatigue.

• Breaking out in a cold sweat.

It’s an initiative close to Denise Sullivan’s heart. As an EMMC employee, the Old Town resident knows what it is like to live with heart disease. Denise underwent open heart surgery five years ago. Today, Sullivan is hoping she can empower women, their family and friends to learn the symptoms of a heart attack and know when to “Make the Call.” She already has taken her message as a WomenHeart Champion to Washington, D.C., where she was a guest at the White House on Feb. 24. She also has been featured in USA Today’s Heart and Stroke Health Guide.

“Having open heart surgery at 47 without ever having a known heart attack was quite a shock,” said Sullivan. “Heart disease changes not only your life but the lives of your family and close friends. Relationships change and you look at life very differently.”

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease advances women’s heart health through advocacy, community education and as a nationwide patient support network for women living with heart disease. For information, visit http://womenheart.org or email Sullivan at WHChamp2008@roadrunner.com.

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