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Go Red: Doctors focus on No. 1 killer, heart disease

February 24, 2012

Heart health was the focus Thursday afternoon at the Go Red event and luncheon, sponsored by Scenic Mountain Medical Center's Healthy Woman program.

Doctors Rudy and Chris Haddad were guest speakers and focused on bringing attention to the No. 1 killer of women.

According to American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading killer of women and is the cause of one in three deaths each year.

“Since 1984, more women than men have died from cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Rudy Haddad said. “African Americans are at a higher risk as are Latinos than Caucasian.”

Heart disease has taken the life of more women than all forms of cancer combined. Even though the mortality rate is much higher associated with heart disease, the symptoms aren't as easy to spot as some might think.

“Too often, the symptoms go ignored and by the time the doctor is seen the damage is extensive,” Dr. Rudy Haddad said. “Two-thirds of women show no symptoms and less than half of women show typical symptoms.”

Chest pain is the most common symptom associated with heart disease; however, it is not as obvious of a symptom when it comes to heart attacks in women. Some of the symptoms to look for include chest discomfort, anxiety, paleness and increased irregular heart rate.

“There are 9,000 women in the United States who have a heart attack each year,” Dr. Rudy said. “We need to address the risk factors earlier and more aggressively in order to lower this number.”

According to Dr. Chris Haddad, the risk factors associated with heart disease include age, race, family and personal history. Women who are 55 and older are at a two to three times higher risk after menopause. If family members have had a history of heart disease, the risk increases as well. Obesity, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol intake, cholesterol and hypertension also play a role in the increased risk of heart disease.

“The best way to deal with heart disease is by sharing the facts and getting the information of what to look for and not ignoring the symptoms,” Dr. Chris said.

More information can be found at www.goredforwomen.org. Those wanting to take a heart risk assessment should contact twww.heart.org

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