Signs of Heart Health
Women especially need to pay attention to their tickers, and Silver Cross staff can help.
Orland Park cardiologist Dr. Kathleen Drinan wants you to know your numbers.
February happens to be American Heart Health month. Heart disease is the number one killer of women - twelve times more women die each year in the US from heart disease than they do from breast cancer.
“Every year, 490,000 American women die of cardiovascular disease, while 40,000 die from breast cancer,” Dr. Drinan said. “We need to increase our awareness, because cardiovascular disease is very preventable.”
Annual mammograms and Pap smears allows doctors to catch diseases in the early stages. They have greatly reduced the death rate from breast cancer and female cancers of the reproductive system.
Dr. Drinan and Silver Cross Hospital are making an effort to raise awareness and educate women during Heart Health month. They are sponsoring a free program, “Take Heart – You’ve Got Control” on Tuesday, February 22nd, from 6:30pm to 7:30pm in the Silver Cross Center for Women’s Health, 1870 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox. Dr. Drinan will provide the facts about heart disease and how it can manifest itself differently in women. She’ll also discuss strategies to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Dr. Drinan believes that women should get an annual checkup for their heart health. This checkup will measure some very important numbers:
- Total cholesterol
- The breakdown between your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels
- Triglyceride level
- Fasting glucose
- Blood pressure
- Body mass index (BMI)
- The circumference of your waist
- The amount of minutes you exercise on most days
“Each year, you should have a conversation with your doctor regarding your cardiovascular risk – how your numbers stack up, any possible issues you’ve been having,” Dr. Drinan advises. “Knowing your risks allows you to take action to reduce these risks.”
Obesity is a leading risk factor for heart disease in both men and women, and almost 25% of American women are obese. Dr. Drinan suggests that simply losing weight and exercising for 30 minutes a day can be very effective in reducing our risk for heart disease.
Heart disease in the family, even if the condition led to a relativce’s death, doesn’t mean people are stuck with the cards they were dealt. Heart disease, Dr. Drinan stresses, is very preventable if you are willing to take action.
“Follow the American Heart Association’s guidelines, and know your numbers,” Dr. Drinan said.
Also, it’s important not to ignore any unusual symptoms. Because women are caregivers, we tend to worry about ourselves last and may delay treatment, according to Dr. Drinan.
While both men and women will experience the common symptoms of pain in the center of the chest or in the upper body, women are more likely to also experience some of the other symptoms such as shortness of breath, pain in the jaw or back, and nausea/vomiting, according the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
“If you have any symptoms that occur above the waist, especially if they are associated with activity, you should check them out with your doctor immediately,” Dr. Drinan advises.
Dr. Kathleen Drinan is a cardiologist located at 16515 S. 106th Court in Orland Park. To schedule an appointment for a heart checkup, call her office at 708.226.0506.
Silver Cross Hospital will also be offering a variety of heart health education programs and screenings during the month of February.