Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. In response to the growing need to support women of all ages in reducing their risk for heart disease, the Cardiac Center of Buffalo Hospital launched a Women's Heart Health Program. The program, specifically tailored to women, includes:
A thorough risk evaluation
A personal plan to prevent heart disease
A year of support to help you follow through with your heart health improvement goals
An investment of $95 covers the cost of your appointment and follow up for one year. Gift certificates for the Women's Heart Health Program are available.
Your first step is a visit with a specially trained registered nurse from Buffalo Hospital's Cardiac Center and includes:
A personal health history
Personal family history of cardiovascular disease
Heart disease risk assessment
Blood tests including cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, glucose, homocysteine level and C-reactive protein levels
Calculation of your body mass index (BMI)
Blood pressure and heart rate
Creating your personal plan
After your evaluation, you'll meet again with the nurse to:
Review the results of your tests
Discuss your overall risk for heart disease
Develop an individual program for preventing heart disease
Have follow up conversations a three, six and 12 months with the nurse in person or by phone if you choose to
Further recommendations might be encouraged including:
Working with a dietitian
Customizing a personal fitness plan with an exercise physiologist
Meeting with doctors and using other resources to set goals to help you minimize your risk by improving your diet and fitness, quitting smoking, managing stress and other medical issues. If your risk factors are high, cardiologists and additional cardiac testing are available at Buffalo Hospital's Cardiac Center.
D. Brent Simons, MD, Cardiology:
Heart disease in women is actually very common. It’s the #1 killer of woman, just as it is in men and we know that 1 out of 9 under age 45 can have heart disease. But as they age and get over age 65, 1 in 3 woman can have heart disease. So it’s important to catch them early, look at their risk factors early, and try to improve the chances of them developing heart disease later.
Bernice Kolb, MD, Internal Medicine:
In woman the signs and symptoms of heart disease can be similar to the symptoms that men experience but they can also be unique.
Sometimes it is simply just a sensation of heartburn in the chest.
Sometimes alone women will get, with exertion, discomfort in the left shoulder or left jaw. So in women, these symptoms can be more subtle.
Dr. Brent Simons:
Women participating in the Women’s Heart Health program would benefit by learning about their risk factors, are they at risk for heart disease, and if they are, how to improve their risks.
Jan Sjostrand, RN, Women’s Heart Health Program Coordinator
When a woman comes into the Women’s Heart Health Program, we look at what is happening in her family, what kind of risk factors are there. Also, we do blood tests and then we will be doing education. There are five visits that we do. First visit is collecting the data. The second one is going over those risk factors and setting goals and then followup for the rest of the year.
This program can be done in partnership with one’s primary care physician. That physician may not have enough time to spend on specific education about cardiac disease in a busy office appointment. This program provides one-on-one interaction and education for an entire year.
Ann Fitch, Women’s Heart Health Program Participant:
There is heart disease in families. My mother had it quite seriously all her life and my brothers and sisters all have some heart problems of one kind or another, and so it seemed... I knew it was time to do something.
Jan Sjostrand, RN:
In making this program individualized, we are looking at what the woman wants to change. It is not our goals. It is the woman’s goals, so there are a lot of areas that we can make changes in: in the way you eat, your exercise program, your stress level, how you sleep. So there is not just one thing that we can help the woman change on. We take very small steps in setting goals so the woman can attain those goals, and the next time, we set more goals. The woman’s program has been very successful. Each time a woman comes back, we see some successes and some that maybe we need to modify, but every woman has had a success.
Most women think of the rest of the family before they think of their own health. We get busy and we tend to put things off. To stop and think about your own health is a good thing because I don’t think that most women are aware that as they get older their risk for heart disease goes up dramatically.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 763-684-5100.