RS Women’s Heart Health Symposium

The RS Women hosted a Heart Health Symposium on February 7. A panel of experts shared their insights and fielded our questions. Here is a summary of the panel:

Rabbi Jill Maderer gave a spiritual welcome: No “shaming” here just support , education and advocacyJennifer Hudson Fight the Ladykiller–a powerful message in an introductory video..

Doctors Lillian Cohn, Internist and Nazanin Moghbeli, Women’s Cardiology Takeaways :

  • HEART DISEASE IS THE NUMBER ONE KILLER OF WOMEN
  • It is important to know your “numbers”: BP Hypertension a major risk factor. (It is advisable to ask for a second BP reading in office. While standing.)
  • NUMBERS TO KNOW: HDL (good) LDL (bad) Cholesterol,Triglycerides, Hemoglobin A-1 C if you have (or are at risk for) Diabetes, BMI for weight maintenance/ obesity prevention
  • KNOW YOUR FAMILY HISTORY to share with physician
  • BE SURE YOUR PHYSICIAN SHARES ALL YOUR NUMBERS WITH YOU
  • Comprehensive evaluation recommended every 3 years if healthy. But preferable every year.
  • Healthy Lifestyle/ Diet/Exercise/no Smoking mitigate risks!
  • Advisable to worry less about side effects of Rx Statins. Focus on cholesterol numbers and the benefits of statins.
  • Women’s arteries/vessels are smaller than men’s. Women at higher risk of stroke. Plaque is softer. More easily dislodged. (Men’s harder more calcified.)
  • Hearts of younger women believed to be protected by estrogen. However from menopause and beyond not so. HRT—hormone replacement therapy—is very much questionable post menopause and must be discussed thoroughly with physician.
  • Pregnant women with pre-eclampsia are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.
  • Symptoms of heart attack in women can be very different from men (ie back pain, nausea) or can be the same as men. (Chest pains, shortness of breath.)

Dr. Raina Merchant, Emergent Cardiology: “Staying Alive” CPR video: CRITICAL INTERVENTION FOR CARDIAC ARRESTS. TIMING LIMITED AND DIFFERENCE BTW LIFE AND DEATH.

  • CPR greatly simplified recently. No more mouth to mouth. Just call 911 and do chest compressions.
  • Portable AED at RS is at Mt Vernon stairs.
  • There is a science to “broken heart syndrome” has to do with imbalance in the parasympathetic nervous system. Can also explain how a surprise party can cause a heart attack.

Findings of recent studies on Depression as a risk factor are mixed, however panelist Dr Bill Uffner, psychiatrist, shared a powerful story about his rounds as a resident in the early 70’s with the renowned cardiologist, Dr Williamm Lykoff. None of Dr Lykoff’s residents then answered his question correctly: “What is the number one predictor of heart disease”. The correct answer was Depression!
Dramatic Psychosocial changes post attack greatly increase risk of depression. Compromises treatment/ recovery and successful outcomes.

Thank you to Betsy Fiebach for organizing the symposium and for the summary.

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