BENTON CITY, Wash. — A local winemaker hosts an annual event to raise money and awareness for National Heart Health Month. February is Heart Health Month, led by the American Heart Association to raise awareness about the risk of heart disease. It includes a women’s initiative as well, Go Red for Women, to bring attention to women’s specific health risks and work to remove the barriers women face in health care. The initiative reports that heart disease kills one in three women every year.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart health issues disproportionately affect African Americans. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, African Americans are 30% more likely to die from heart disease than non-Hispanic white people.
Shae Frichette, co-owner of Frichette Winery, has been hosting a “Wine and Arts Save Hearts” event for the last 15 years to spread the word.
“You get to meet artists, we have nurses that will take your blood pressure,” says Frichette. “We have amazing wine and charcuterie plates, healthy charcuterie plates.”
Several factors can play a role in an individual’s heart health. This can include family history and genetics, social risk factors and other health conditions like obesity, diabetes and chronic stress. Many of the health conditions considered as risk factors also disproportionately affect African American people. Frichette is familiar with women’s risk of heart disease, prompting her desire to further raise awareness.
“I had a little scare with my heart as well, and so fortunately things worked out,” said Frichette. “But then it just opened my eyes to how serious of a challenge this is.”
High blood pressure, aka hypertension, is one of the factors that can increase risk for heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, it’s more common for African Americans than any other population in the world. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of Minority Health reports that African American women specifically are nearly 60% more likely to have high blood pressure than non-Hispanic white women.
Cardiovascular diseases kill more than 50,000 Black women each year, according to the American Heart Association. Nearly 59% of Black women ages 20 and older have cardiovascular disease. Additionally, strokes are a leading cause of death among Black women.
Doctors recommend getting your blood pressure checked at least once a year, especially if you pose a higher risk of hypertension. It’s also recommended to get up and get moving, while living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
You can attend the 2023 Wine and Arts Save Hearts event at Frichette Winery on Sunset Road in Benton City, starting at 5:30 on February 25. Some of the event’s proceeds will go toward the American Heart Association.
“We want to be aware of the signs of heart disease, so that if someone is experiencing it, someone that we love, then we can encourage them to go get checked,” said Frichette.
Ongoing pain in your chest Pain/discomfort in your jaw, neck or stomach Lightheaded with nausea Unusual leg pain while walking
The National Institutes of Health released a booklet on African American heart health for the average person to educate themselves. This booklet is available here: