Ingalls Health System invites women to learn about heart disease and how to prevent it at the Hearts in the Right Place event at 11 a.m. Feb. 22 at the South Holland Community Center, 501 E. 170th St.
Although heart disease is often thought of as a man’s problem, more women than men die of heart disease each year. One challenge is that heart disease symptoms in women can be different from symptoms in men. Instead of shortness of breath and pains shooting down the left side of the body, women may experience vomiting and nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, unexplained sweating, back or jaw pain, and flu-like symptoms.
“All women face the threat of heart disease,” explains cardiologist Sabrina Akrami, D.O. “But becoming aware of symptoms and risks unique to women, as well as eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising, can help protect you.”
The Hearts in the Right Place event is a free program that will feature an informative presentation by Akrami geared toward women 40 to 60 years of age, interactive booths, health screenings, giveaways, prizes and more.
The program is funded by a grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.
“Although traditional risk factors for heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity, affect both women and men, other factors seem to play a more prominent role in the development of heart disease in women,” Akrami said.
For instance, metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around the abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men. Research shows mental stress and depression seem to affect women's hearts more than men's. And smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women as well. Added to that, low levels of estrogen after menopause heighten a woman’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels.
The good news is that by avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising at least 30 minutes most days of the week, and eating a diet low in fat, sodium and cholesterol can greatly reduce a woman’s risk for heart disease.
For more information or to register, call Ingalls Care Connection at (708) 915-CARE (2273). Seating is limited.