Her Heart Program
At Dayton Heart & Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan, we are committed to fighting heart disease in women with our Her Heart Program. It is our goal to share ways to identify disease at its earliest and most treatable stages, provide you with suggestions for a heart-healthy lifestyle, and ultimately prevent heart disease. Your well-being is our highest priority.
While there are many misperceptions about women and heart disease, the facts speak for themselves:
- One in five women have some form of cardiovascular disease
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women
- A woman dies from heart disease every 34 seconds
- One in every three women dies of heart disease; one in 30 dies from breast cancer
- Nearly two-thirds of American women who die suddenly of a heart attack have no prior symptoms
- Since 1982, the prevalence of heart disease-related deaths in women has increased, while the death rates for men have decreased
The good news is the risks of heart disease may be lowered by as much as 82 percent by living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Her Heart’s Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease
Risk factors are habits or traits that make us more likely to develop heart disease. Below is a list of risk factors likely to contribute to cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) problems. Consider how many of the following factors apply to you:
- Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus
- Current or past smoker
- BMI (body mass index) of 25 or higher
- Exercise less than three times each week
- Blood pressure above 120/80
- Current (or within the last five years), total cholesterol level is either unknown or over 200mg/dL
- Over the age of 55
- Under 55, but have had either early menopause or a hysterectomy with ovaries removed
- Family history of relatives (grandparents, parents, siblings and/or children) diagnosed with heart disease
This information is not a substitute for medical care—nothing replaces a discussion with your health care provider. If you have two or more risk factors, please take this information to your physician and start a plan for a heart healthy future.
Here are some topics you may want to discuss:
- Your family’s heart disease history
- Your personal risk factors
- Aspirin therapy for those over the age of 50
- Hormone replacement therapy if you are peri- or post-menopausal
- If you have ever had a mini stroke (TIA) or if you have stroke risk factors
- If vascular screenings would be appropriate for you
Find out if you are at risk by taking a Cardiac Risk Assessment.
Living a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle
Even if you are currently at risk of cardiovascular disease, it is never too late to start taking care of yourself. Here are some things that may keep your heart and blood vessels healthy:
- Quit smoking. A smoker is two to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than a non-smoker. Over 80 percent of women who have a heart attack before the age of 40 have smoked. Smoking may also cause early menopause.
- Control your blood pressure. Cut down on salt and alcohol. Eat more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products that are low- or non-fat.
- Control your blood cholesterol; have it checked at least once every five years.
- Control your weight. Maintain a healthy BMI.
- If you have diabetes, routinely monitor and control your blood sugar levels.
- Find appropriate ways to manage stress.
- Exercise. Try 30 minutes most days of the week.
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Classic Heart Attack Signs for Men and Women
- Discomfort in the center of the chest (It may last for more than a few minutes, or go away and return; the discomfort may feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.)
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath – with or without chest discomfort
- Cold sweats or clammy skin
- Nausea and/or vomiting
Female Heart Attack Signs
Women’s warning signs can be different from men’s symptoms. They may be far more subtle. These are the symptoms often reported by women:
- Unexplained fatigue, weakness, or dizziness
- Feeling breathless with activities of daily living (washing dishes, making beds), often without pain or discomfort of any kind
- Sleep disturbances
- Feelings of anxiety or impending doom
- Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort that resembles indigestion
- Flu-like symptoms – specifically nausea, clamminess, or cold sweats
You may not have all these signs/symptoms. Those you do experience may go away and return. Don’t delay—when one or more symptoms occur, get help immediately. Call 911, and, if possible, ask to be taken to Dayton Heart & Vascular Hospital at Good Samaritan.
Getting Help with HeartSaver CT
Over a lifetime, we make many choices that influence the length and quality of our lives. As we age our risks for cardiovascular disease increase. That is why it’s important to reduce the risk factors we can control by using heart healthy lifestyle suggestions. If you have any questions, discuss them with your doctor.
Our HeartSaver CTSM is an effective, non-invasive, calcium-scoring screening tool. It is used to detect and measure calcium buildup in and around the heart’s arteries, often before you experience signs or symptoms. Using a CT scanner, multiple images of your heart are taken from different angles in a very short period of time. The actual procedure takes less than seven minutes to complete and does not require needles, injections, or changing your clothes. Your GSH physician, trained in this technology, analyzes your heart’s images and computerized findings. Your report will include a calcium score and risk assessment, and will be sent to you within 7-10 business days. Based upon your HeartSaver CT results, lifestyle suggestions and/or a physician consultation may accompany your report.
No physician referral is required. HeartSaver CT is recommended for men over 40 and women over 45 with known risk factors of developing cardiovascular disease. The cost is $99. To schedule your HeartSaver CT call (937) 734-8200.