More Than 4,700 Members Took Part in Women’s Health Week

Hotel Voice, Winter 2019

In 2004 Hotel Voice reported the good news that more than 1,500 members participated in the first Women’s Health Awareness Week. Things have really changed since then, with more than 4,700 members participating in the event this year. And that’s great news once again because the good health of our members and their families is a primary goal of the union.

Indeed, the event’s popularity has grown over the years. Women who visited one of the Health Centers between October 22 and October 25 did not need an appointment to be able to receive testing and an exam that allows doctors to detect early signs of five different types of cancer: beast, cervical, skin, colon-rectal, and oral. Tests were also provided to measure members’ blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other health indicators. As always, information was provided on a number of other health issues that are specific to women, including menopause, infertility, osteoporosis, family planning and certain infectious diseases. Members could also get flu shots, which, we should add, remain available to all members and their families at the Health Centers without appointments being necessary.

Women’s Health Week at the Harlem Health Center.

Once again this year one of the areas covered during Women’s Health Week was heart disease in women. As we have noted before, it is sad to see that too many people think that heart disease is a medical condition that affects mostly men. This misconception has probably led to the needless early deaths of many, many women. The sad truth is that because of this misconception more women die from heart disease each year than from anything else. 

One of the problems concerning women and heart disease is that too many believe that the only symptom is chest pain. But in fact there are other signs of heart disease in women, including difficulty breathing and sleeping, nausea, and back pain. The good news is that all women can greatly reduce their risk for heart disease. Giving up smoking is a must, and so is staying away from other people who smoke. Getting your blood pressure checked often is important, too. If it turns out you do have high blood pressure, which increases your risk of a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and other conditions, it can be easily controlled with medication — as well as diet and exercise. Women should also have their cholesterol checked regularly. Tests like these were available at the Health Centers during Women’s Health Week.

Members who attended Women’s Health Week were reminded that help is readily available to those who want to quit smoking. As we have reported before, the Health Centers and the Members Health Assistance Program have outstanding track records in helping members stop smoking. There are medications, counseling sessions and other methods used to help, and the New York City Department of Health has praised the Health Centers’ smoking cessation programs.

The importance of nutrition was stressed once again. A good diet and regular exercise were emphasized not only to reduce one’s risk of heart disease but also to reduce the risk of various forms of cancer. The advice was to stay active. As an example, walking every day can greatly lower one’s chances of a heart attack.

There were raffles at each Health Center and gift bags containing manicure kits were distributed. At the Queens Health Center, members received free manicures courtesy of students from the local vocational high school. The Harlem Health Center featured a “she shed,” the woman’s equivalent of a “man cave.” The Midtown Health Center had a relaxation and spa area. Members were also taught how to make their own natural body scrub. There were tai chi demonstrations as well as sessions of standard yoga and laughing yoga.

Members that spoke with Hotel Voice praised Women’s Health Week. We should add that the event always takes place in October because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are delighted that so many women members took advantage of all that Women’s Health Week had to offer. That’s because the good health of members and their families is always a goal of the union.