MERRILLVILLE | Dr. Kathy Magliato is tired of the "bikini approach" to women's health, a focus on the breasts and the gynecological issues.
"It's not our breasts killing us, it's what's between our breasts," said Magliato to about 300 people attending the Lake County American Heart Association Go Red for Women luncheon Thursday at the Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza.
Magliato, director of women's cardiac services at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif., and the author of "Heart Matters," took about an hour to give participants "The Angina Monologue," a discussion about heart disease.
Magliato said about 2.5 million are hospitalized each year due to heart disease and it's the largest killer of women. One woman dies about every 60 seconds from heart disease, she said, which is devastating since 80 percent of getting heart disease is preventable by doing healthy behaviors such as not smoking and being within the correct Body Mass Index range.
"The fact that we're talking about breast cancer all the time drives me batty," said Magliato, after asking the room what health issue women tend to be most concerned about.
She said about 4 percent of women die from breast cancer and 44 percent of women die from heart disease.
The best way to combat heart disease is to know your numbers and know your symptoms, Magliato said. She said she wants women to be able to rattle off their blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar "like you rattle off your Social Security number."
She also said the symptoms for women are different than men. In fact, 50 percent of women report no chest pain, a stereotypical symptom of heart issues. For women, common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, jaw pain and fainting. She said if you experience one or more of these symptoms, stop what you're doing and call 911. Most importantly, don't drive yourself to the hospital.
"Women drive themselves in and stop for 2 percent milk on the way in," she said. "Not a good use of multitasking ladies."