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2012 - Spring Issue
Vida Buena
Health & Wellness
Article: Heather Parra
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When most people picture heart disease, they picture someone's grandpa clutching his chest and having a heart attack. However, according to the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, the number one cause of death for American women is heart disease, and five times more women will die from heart disease than from breast cancer. One in 10 women ages 45 to 64 has heart disease and that statistic rises to one in four women after the age of 65, according to Healthy Woman Online, a program provided for women by MountainView Regional Medical Center. Heart disease is not only a man's problem.

    Photo Captions

2.) Dr. Franklin Murphy,
     Cardiologist at
     MountainView Regional
     Medical Center

MountainView Regional Medical Center
4311 E Lohman Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88011
"Women don't think that heart disease is their problem but the fact is that more women die from heart disease than men," says Dr. Franklin Murphy, a cardiologist at MountainView Regional Medical Center. Dr. Murphy has been practicing cardiology for 28 years and is a fourth-generation physician. Dr. Murphy has been on staff at MountainView for 16 months.

What is heart disease? - Heart disease occurs when coronary arteries become thicker due to a buildup of fatty deposits and cholesterol. Blockages start to form in the arteries called atherosclerosis. These blockages cause a decrease in the blood that is flowing to the heart.

What are the risk factors? - Dr. Murphy says that the four major modifiable risk factors for heart disease are smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, with smoking being the biggest risk factor of all of these. Family history of heart disease is also a risk factor.

"Lifestyle is the most important thing," says Dr. Murphy. "People generally lead a terrible lifestyle. People are stressed out and too busy, so they eat out and they eat processed foods. The foods they eat are full of fat, sugar and salt, all of which lead to heart disease. Too much salt leads to high blood pressure and too much sugar leads to diabetes. Simple sugars such as white rice, bread and pasta all raise insulin levels too high and lead to diabetes. People also lead a sedentary lifestyle because they work long hours and are too busy to go to the gym or work out."

What are the symptoms and what should you do if you experience these symptoms? - "The symptoms of heart disease tend to be more subtle in women," according to Dr. Murphy. "While women still experience chest pain, it is usually not the extreme chest pain that men often experience. Shortness of breath is a common symptom for women, as well as fatigue, jaw and tooth pain and light-headedness." Other symptoms may also include arm, back and neck pain, cold sweats and nausea.

Often when women experience these symptoms they are surprised to learn that what they are experiencing is a heart attack. Although many of these symptoms could be caused by other conditions, it is important to realize that if you are experiencing these symptoms together or in a way you have never experienced them before, you should call 9-1-1 right away. The only way to know for sure if what you are experiencing is a heart attack is to get checked out. If it is a heart attack you are experiencing, it is vital to get help right away and the fastest way to do this is to call 9-1-1 so that trained paramedics can treat you as you are being transported to the hospital. In addition, you will get treatment faster at the hospital if you arrive in an ambulance than if you just show up at the ER. According to womens, treatment works best if it is given within one hour of the onset of symptoms. So, do not wait to call 9-1-1 and do not drive to the hospital.

Women's Coronary Care - How to Prevent Heart Disease

  1.)   The best way to prevent heart disease is to adjust your lifestyle. Obesity has become a major problem in our society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that one-third of U.S. adults are obese and 17% of children and adolescents are obese. The thickening of the arteries can begin at a young age, so it is important to begin a healthy lifestyle early; however, it is never too late to start making lifestyle changes that will improve your overall health as well as your heart health.
  2.)   The number one thing you can do to prevent heart disease is to quit smoking if you are a smoker!
  3.)   Of course, diet is a major factor in heart health. A diet that is high in salt, sugar and fat contributes to heart disease, while a diet that is high in fruits and vegetable and soluble fiber leads to a healthy heart. One way to improve your diet significantly is to prepare fresh meals at home that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meat, instead of eating out or eating processed foods.
  4.)   Exercise is also very important in keeping a healthy heart. Thirty minutes of exercise a day will go a long way to preventing heart disease.
  5.)   Lastly, it is always important for your overall health to have regular checkups with your doctor, and to receive blood tests to check your cholesterol levels and your blood sugar levels. ///
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