Heart health requires immediate attention

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Heart health

By DEBBIE KEEL Last fall, North Fulton Hospital made a special effort to draw attention to the importance of women doing regular breast self-exams as well as getting a screening mammogram. That effort was a tremendous success, helped by events like the Power of Pink Luncheon we sponsored to support the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In fact, when I went for my annual mammogram screening recently, the mammography technologist at North Fulton Hospital told me she was still busy with women responding to our urgings. But when we try to bring that same attention to heart health, a lot of women don’t pay attention and wonder why we bother. The belief is that men, not women, only need to worry about heart disease.

But the truth is:

• More women die of cardiovascular disease than from the next four causes of death combined, including all forms of cancer. • Eighty percent of cardiac events in women could be prevented if women made the right choices involving diet, exercise and abstinence from smoking. • Women under 65 have two times the mortality rate after a heart attack as men of the same age. • African-American women are at the highest risk for death from heart disease among all racial, ethnic and gender groups. • While being male certainly is a risk factor, women have many of their own, like being over 55, being a smoker, and having hypertension, high cholesterol and a family history of premature coronary disease.

February is an appropriate time to learn more about heart health since it’s the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” month. North Fulton Hospital is sponsoring its annual Women of Heart event in its atrium from 5:30-7:15 p.m. Feb. 23, offering blood pressure screenings, a physician's discussion on women's heart health, and a heart healthy cooking demonstration by the Publix Apron Cooking School. For more information, contact 770-751-2660. Debbie Keel is the CEO of North Fulton Hospital.

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This month's issue

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