Community Health Network Receives HeartCaring® 2016 Excellence in Action Award
Community Health Network has been chosen as the National Winner of the 2016 HeartCaring® Excellence in Action Award in recognition of their outstanding achievements in community service through its free Know Your Numbers heart health screenings available across Central Indiana. The Excellence in Action Award is given to hospitals whose innovation and extraordinary commitment to community service goes beyond all expectations from Spirit of Health Group. Learn more >>
Women's Heart Care program
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in Indiana, and remains a major public health issue. Even more alarming, heart disease claims more women’s lives in the United States than all forms of cancer combined. Nearly one woman dies every minute in America as a result of heart disease, stroke or other cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, there are widespread misconceptions that heart disease is a man’s disease.
Community's Women’s Heart Care program provides education and outreach to improve the detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases for women and their families in our community. The free program provides tools to take action for managing your cardiovascular health, including FREE "Know Your Numbers" screenings, heart health tips, and invitations to women only events.
By Jennifer Sams, MD, FACC
Cardiologist, Community Heart and Vascular Hospital
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, accounting for 25% of female deaths. Unfortunately, only 54% of women are aware that heart disease is their number one killer. Often thought of as a “man’s disease,” heart disease kills more women than men each year.
Thus, women need to be aware of not only what symptoms to be concerned about, but also know what they can do to prevent heart disease. A large part of prevention is education, awareness, and knowing your individual risk factors.
To make an appointment with a heart physician at Community, please call 800-777-7775.
Symptoms of a heart attack
The classic symptoms of a heart attack described in a textbook or seen in a movie include clutching one’s chest and experiencing the sensation of an elephant sitting on your chest. This chest pressure is often brought on by either physical or emotional stress, may radiate into the left arm, and is relieved with rest or sublingual nitroglycerin.
While some women may experience chest pain, several have other, more atypical symptoms that do not involve chest pain and thus might get ignored. These symptoms are diverse and may include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath
- Back or jaw pain
- Excessive sweating
The best thing a woman can do is to be proactive about her health. If you are experiencing any new symptoms, regardless of how typical or atypical they may be, talk to your physician rather than ignoring them.
Risk factors for heart disease
To prevent heart disease, a woman needs to be aware of the risk factors she has to develop heart disease. Typical risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Family history
- Smoking (smoking more than doubles your risk of having a heart attack)
Prevent heart disease
Women should see their doctors and know their numbers. What is your blood pressure? What is your most recent cholesterol? Half of Americans have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoke.
To help reduce risk of heart disease, a woman should address the risk factors she can control, see her physician, and take medications that are prescribed. To get started, attend a Know Your Numbers screening near you or complete an online risk factor assessment.
In addition, there are several lifestyle changes a woman can make to reduce her risk of heart disease. These include:
- Daily exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes
- Avoiding tobacco products
- Following a healthy diet that is low in saturation and trans fats, cholesterol, and salt