Freeman Health System Celebrates Wear Red Day for Women

(Joplin, MO) – The color red was unmistakable throughout Freeman Health System’s Heart & Vascular Institute on Friday, February 2, as doctors, nurses, and staff worked hard to raise awareness to the dangers of cardiovascular disease in women.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women, and we would like to see that change,” said Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer Paula Baker.

She spent a good portion of the morning posing with Institute staff for pictures — most decked in red T-shirts promoting heart health.

“February is known for Valentine’s Day, so it’s a good time to focus on the heart and raise awareness of heart health,” Baker said. “Women’s symptoms differ from men’s, and sometimes go unnoticed.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning signs differ dramatically between men and women. For example, while the classical symptoms like chest pains apply to both men and women, women are much more inclined to suffer heart-related back pains, nausea, and shortness of breath, even indigestion.

“I think a lot of times women think of heart disease and think it’s not going to really be me, it’s more of a male disease, but realistically women digest as much as men, and they may be a decade behind men on average, but it is a very prominent factor,” said Dr. Ryan Longnecker, Freeman’s Director of Cardiology.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States and can affect women of any age. In 2021, it was responsible for the deaths of 310,661 women.

“We really want to raise awareness and encourage women to be looking for signs to help with their longevity and quality of life and I think that’s something we’ve done a great job with at Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute, and that’s really focusing on recognizing that there is no gender disparity when it comes to cardiovascular disease,” Longnecker said. “We take everyone very seriously and make sure their problems are addressed appropriately.”

Freeman Heart & Vascular Institute is the team to trust when your heart is on the line. For details, click here.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center — the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services — as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Kevin McClintock, Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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