Thursday, February 5, 2009

Red Day Highlights Heart Problems in Athens

by Megan Gorey

When asked, 75% of women identified (breast) cancer as the leading cause of death for women, according to Dr. Joseph Cook, a Diabetes Fellow at Obleness. However, 1 in every 2 women will die of cardiovascular disease and only 1 in 25 will die from breast cancer.

The Heart Trilogy
In his presentation "The Heart Health Trilogy: Cholesterol, Blood Sugars, and Blood Pressure" yesterday at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, Cook explained that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the #1 killer of women in the United States. In fact, Cook says, "Cardiovascular disease kills more people than the next 5 other leading killers combined."

According to the American Heart Association, every day in Ohio roughly 50 women die from heart disease and strokes. That's why the first Friday of every February is National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about women's heart disease.

Dr. Joseph Cook stresses how woman can protect their hearts

Cook's presentation included information and graphs from the American Heart Association. He explained that there is a direct correlation between a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30 and higher mortality rates of women. To help control cholesterol, Cook the keys are:

*Increased physical activity
*Weight loss
*Healthy food intake (portion sizes)
*Medication compliance

Mediterranean Diet
Most importantly, Cook says, is to get moving! He suggests his patients at the Cornwell Center for Cardiovascular and Diabetes Center to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Also, minimizing meats while increasing fruit and vegetable consumption also helps to control cholesterol. Cook recommended the Mediterranean Diet which includes:

*Fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
*Olive oil as an unsaturated fat
*Low to moderate amounts of dairy products, fish and poultry
*Minimal consumption of red meats
*Consuming eggs zero to four times a week
*Low to moderate amounts of wine consumption

Blood Sugar/Diabetes
One in 10 women over the age of 20 has diabetes or pre-diabetes. Cook explained, "Diabetes rates are greater in Southeastern Ohio than other parts of Ohio and I believe that it's in part due to the increased weight gain." To help control blood sugar:

*Increased physical activity
*Weight loss
*Healthy food intake (portion control)
*Medication compliance

Blood Pressure
Cook referred to High Blood Pressure or Hypertension (HTN) as the "Silent Killer." 3 out of 4 women know they have high blood pressure but fewer than 1 out of 3 actually controls their high blood pressure. Cook's tips for controlling high blood pressure include:

*Increased physical activity
*Smoking cessation
*Choose foods low in salt and sodium
*Limit alcohol intake
*Weight loss
*Medication compliance

Love Your Heart
"Know your numbers. Care about your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugars," stresses Cook.

By utilizing the Framingham Point Scale, women can get their 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease. This survey is important because according to Cook, "The first step is knowing your numbers and if you're at risk." In honor of National Wear Red Day, Cook is telling women to do the Go Red Heart Check-Up online questionnaire to learn more about their risk. Cook stressed the fact that heart disease is completely preventable. "I can't say it enough, it's the dietary choices and exercise. If we can improve those, we can improve the weight and improve all three parts of the good heart trilogy," says Cook.

Athens Heart Resources
Heartworks is a cardiac rehabilitation facility that is located at O'Bleness Hospital for anyone that needs to improve their cardiac or respiratory fitness, according to Dr. Katherine Kiger. The center has a full time cardiac team that comes from Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus MidOhio Cardiology, one of the premier cardiology groups in Ohio.

Kiger says, "One of the good things about this service is that if you have a serious procedure done in Columbus, you can follow up with the doctors here at home." Kiger stressed that if you think you may be having a heart attack, never hesitate to head to the nearest emergency room.

Dr. Kiger describes women's symptoms of a heart attack

National Wear Red Day in Athens
The Athens Healthy Community Coalition has a list of events taking place this weekend in honor of National Wear Red Day.


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

"Cook explained that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the #1 killer of women in the United States. In fact, Cook says, "Cardiovascular disease kills more people than the next 5 other leading killers combined.""

That statement doesn't sound right to me. Cancer is the #2 killer, and there are a lot of cancer deaths. Strokes are #3. Maybe someone has time to check his figures.

He is right about the Mediterranean diet being heart-healthy. Physicians need to stress it more. The DASH diet probably also works. I blogged about it here:

Oldways Preservation Trust has lots of good info on the Mediterranean diet, or see my healty lifestyle blog,


E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Students said...

Thank you for your comment Dr. Parker. I checked, and it would appear Dr. Cook is correct. In 2007, the last year numbers are available, more than 900,000 people died of cardiovascular disease, 550,000 of cancer, and the next four killers add up to less than 350,000. But it is really close.