African-American and Hispanic women are most at risk for heart disease in the U.S., according to goredforwomen.org.

Hearts and Heels brunch and show is an event that will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn Palace in Duncanville. The second-annual brunch brings awareness to heart disease in women of color, said Erica Annise, the emcee and host of Hearts and Heels.

Heart disease refers to several different heart conditions that can cause heart failure, according to www.cdc.gov. The most common is coronary artery disease, which causes heart attacks. According to the website, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking are the key risk factors for heart disease and almost half of Americans have at least one of these three risk factors.

Hearts and Heels was organized by Total You Unlimited, a nonprofit, holistic empowerment organization dedicated to helping individuals gain the tools necessary to be well from the inside out, according to its website.

Annise, who is a survivor of heart disease, said it is important for women to know their emotional and physical heart health.

“Women don’t know what really harms them,” Annise said. “Depression and other things like that can really cause damage to one’s mental health, which can have an affect on your heart. When something is continuously off in you, that can kill you.”

The event will have a variety of keynote speakers who will touch on topics such as health and wellness, how to cope with depression after losing someone and working on individual health goals.

One in three women in the U.S. dies from heart disease, according to www.goredforwomen.org, making it the No. 1 killer of both women and men.

Nursing freshman Lauren Champion said it’s important for women, in particular, to know their heart health because she knows heart disease is on the rise.

Champion said she has noticed that obesity also is on the rise and there is a direct correlation to the rise in heart disease in women.

According to www.cdc.gov, Americans are most at risk for heart disease if they have diabetes, are overweight or obese, have a poor diet or drink alcohol excessively.

“Women are becoming more confident, which is great, but if you’re overweight that can be a problem,” Champion said.

English freshman Abby Lauer said the rise of heart disease can also be attributed to heart health. She is happy mental health awareness is being taken seriously because it can affect overall health.

“A lot of things contribute to this problem in women, like low food quality or depression,” Lauer said. “Mental stress can make you more susceptible to any disease.”

Annise said the event is smaller than others, only holding about 150 people, because its speakers are supposed to be accessible to everyone there.

“Everyone is going to get something from the event,” Annise said. “It really feels like you’re at home with your girlfriends.”

@christianalexb

features-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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