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Heart healthy wine tasting

Hosted by National Coalition of 100 Black Women

 The Bergen/Passaic Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women will hold a wine tasting event on Feb. 3 to celebrate National Wear Red Day, a day set aside to increase awareness about heart disease in women.
"Heart disease is a violent killer," said NCBW Bergen/Passaic Committee Chairwoman Paula Jenkins. She said that African American women die at a disproportionate rate from heart disease compared to white women.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year.
The Women’s Heart Foundation reports that 8.6 million women die each year from heart disease. In the United States, 435,000 women have heart attacks each year and 8 million live with heart disease.
Dr. Menen Mathias-Frederickson, a physician consultant for NextGen Healthcare and a member of the NCBW Bergen/Passaic Chapter said that there are so many deaths because the symptoms are different in women than in men for a heart attack.
"The symptoms for women are much more subtle," she points out, adding that while men get chest pains and differences in EKG readings when having a heart attack, women tend to feel sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, anxiety, indigestion and unusual fatigue, which could lead one to believe they are experience flu-like symptoms.
Also, Mathias said that clumps in the arteries of men are easier to find than in the arteries of women and this is often misinterpreted that a woman is fine and healthy.
"Women tend to have a lot going on and don’t slow down when they have the symptoms," she said.
Because of this, Mathias said that women wait longer than men to go to the emergency room when having a heart attack. Additionally, because the characteristic patterns are so much less visible in women than in men, Mathias said that medication for the problem is often not prescribed as needed, making women much less likely than men to receive the proper help. They get released from the hospital without the correct diagnosis.
"The physicians have not been properly trained," she said. "I’m surprised the issues haven’t been addressed more. The numbers don’t lie."
Mathias said that one in five of all black women are smokers, which puts them at a higher risk of a heart attack. They also tend to have higher blood pressure earlier in life, and on average, have a higher blood pressure than white women. Nearly half of all black women have cholesterol that’s too high. 75 percent or more are overweight or obese and 55 percent are not physically active enough.
According to, studies have shown that African-Americans don't get the same care for heart disease as whites because they don't get the same tests and treatments.
Women tend to have such a high rate of heart disease because they stop producing estrogen after menopause, which has a cardioprotective effect, said Mathias. Additionally, good cholesterol and good blood pressure prevents damage to blood vessels.
Mathias said that 38 percent of women versus 25 percent of men will die within one year from heart attacks and that they are twice as likely than men to die within two weeks.
Mathias said that only two percent of the National Institute for Health’s budget goes towards prevention of heart disease in women.
"That’s why we have to increase awareness," she said.
This will be the Coalition’s third annual heart healthy wine tasting and will have live jazz, a healthy cooking demonstration, medical insight from cardiologist Dr. David Hodges, refreshments, educational materials and facts about heart disease.
The Coalition of 100 Black Women is a non-profit organization that increases awareness and education for African-American women on topics such as health, finance and public advocacy. They recently celebrated their 25th anniversary.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online at or at the door. It starts at 7 p.m.

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