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Raising Awareness of Heart Disease in Women

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 04 Feb 2013 07:36pm | comments
Heart healthy foods are a staple for Helen Griffin of Jackson

Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. It claims the lives of 1 out of 4 Mississippian's every year. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports this potentially fatal disease often goes un-noticed in women.   

The symptoms of a heart attack for men and women usually include squeezing chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath. But Dr. Michael Winniford, Chief Cardiologist at University Medical Center says women may often have more unusual symptoms.

"So instead of having the squeezing chest pain that is typical they may experience more shortness of breath, severe fatigue perhaps nausea but without the typical squeezing chest pain and this can be misleading."

While Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke is the leading cause of death in Mississippi there are several forms of the disease to be concerned with. In 2005 69 year old Helen Griffin of Jackson discovered she had what's called Diastolic Congested Heart failure. That's where her heart muscles stiffen and have trouble pumping when they are in a relaxed stage.

"I was told that the older you get the stiffer the heart and that's what I'm  trying to prevent it from getting it much stiffer. If I don't exercise and keep moving it's gonna get stiff. So therefore if I keep moving it will keep my  blood pressure down and I can breath better and I can just function better in general. "

The good news for women is that most risk factors for heart disease including high cholesterol, and obesity are preventable and controllable with a heart healthy diet and exercise. But Griffin who is also a spokesperson for the American Heart Association says its also important to understand the different types of the disease.

"With the diastolic your hear muscle get still the systolic is altogether where you can get a pacemaker, stint what have you. In my case I cant get anything so I'm living on borrowed time."

According to The American Heart Association heart disease claims the lives of more women than diabetes, Alzheimers and lung cancer combined. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.





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