Day Kimball Healthcare Warns that Heart Disease is the #1 Killer of Women in the United States


Dr. Lisa Canter (right), advices women to take action to prevent heart disease.

Side Bar: Aerobic Exercise:

Aerobic exercise places a continuous energy demand on the cardiovascular system and results in improved efficiency of the heart, lungs, and circulation,” says Brenda Rich-Pike, an exercise physiologist at Day Kimball Healthcare. “While aerobic exercise will certainly reduce one’s risk of heart disease, the intensity a person applies is a large success factor.”

Rich-Pike maps out a formula for the target heart rate that an individual should strive for depending on his/her age:
1. Subtract your age from 220 to find a predicted maximum heart rate.
2. Calculate 60 percent and 85 percent of that number to find a target range.
For instance, if you are 40 years old: 220 – 40 = 180. 60 percent of 180 = 108; 85 percent of 180 = 153. Therefore, this 40-year-old’s target heart rate range is 108 – 153 beats per minute while exercising. A good way to test this method is to test your blood pressure approximately five minutes after you have been exercising.

While there are several other ways to measure your blood pressure, the most convenient is to use a digital monitor that can be purchased for a relatively inexpensive price at most pharmacies and department stores.

February is American Heart Month and Day Kimball wants to raise awareness about heart disease and educate the women of Northeast Connecticut about prevention

PUTNAM, CONN. – For some, it is surprising to learn that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. To spread the word about heart disease in women, Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) is spending the month of February, which is American Heart Month, to raise awareness of how women can prevent heart disease.

According to The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), further surprising information is that one in four women in the United States dies from heart disease, compared to one in thirty who dies of breast cancer. The NHLBI also reports that one in eight women between the ages of 45 and 64 has some form of heart disease, which dramatically increases to one in four women who are over the age of 65.

The key to survival is to identify early signs that could lead to a heart attack and encouraging women to take action to prevent heart disease.

“By Identifying ‘at-risk’ individuals before they suffer a cardiac event, and initiating a preventive program that would include medication, awareness, and lifestyle modification, patients can take an active role in avoiding a serious heart condition all together,” said Lisa Canter, MD, DKH Cardiology Department and director of the Echocardiography Lab at Day Kimball.

According to Dr. Canter, a person’s heart needs oxygen to survive. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart is severely reduced or completely cut off. This happens because arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly become thicker and harder from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, also known as plaque. Risk factors contributing to this condition include age, smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or triglyceride levels, family history of heart attacks, lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, unhealthy diet, and illegal drug use.

Women can reduce the risk of heart disease by “knowing their numbers,” which include total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in regular aerobic exercise are effective ways to significantly lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Dr. Canter also stresses that all types of women - young, old, thin, obese - can be susceptible to heart disease. “One size does not fit all,” said Dr. Canter. The same can be said about symptoms. Many women may not have the same symptoms that men suffer. It is more common for women to have burning or aching in the neck, jaw, back, or arm. Women are more likely to suffer from fatigue, dizziness or nausea. It is vital that women tune into their bodies, seek immediate care for atypical symptoms, and schedule regular check-ups with their primary care physician.

Prevention Measures. Dr. Canter recommends the following to prevent heart disease:

Good Nutrition - The type of food and the amount that a person eats can impact several risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Choose nutrient rich foods (vitamins, minerals, fiber) that are low in calories. A good diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grain/ high-fiber foods, fish, lean protein and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

No Smoking - Smoking is a direct toxin to arteries and will cause damage.

Prescribed Medication - Medication is another way to lower your risk of heart disease. Prescribed medications can help manage high blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels. Aspirin may also be used to help reduce blood clotting.

Exercise - Regular aerobic exercise can improve the functionality of the heart.

If you are interested in learning more about the risks of heart disease, prevention, and early detection methods, Day Kimball Healthcare holds an educational lecture series in the Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Department at Day Kimball Hospital on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Each week they address a different topic and the lectures are open to the public and media. For more information, call (860) 963-6315.