More teen women battling heart disease

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University of Cincinnati UC experts urge women to watch for warning signs associated with heart disease, a condition that is becoming more common, especially among women.

“Even young women may suffer from heart disease,” says Ginger Conway, a nurse practitioner with the UC Heart & Vascular Center. “I know an 18-year-old who suffered from a severe heart attack.

“You just never know who is going to be affected.”

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease kills over 480,000 women a year-about one woman per minute.

The UC Heart & Vascular Center will partner with In-Touch Magazine to host an event from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 26, aimed at helping women jump-start healthy lifestyles as part of their New Year resolutions.

The event, “UC Hearts for Health,” will be held at University Pointe, 7700 University Ct., in West Chester. It will include informative and motivational discussions about cardiovascular disease, diabetes and nutrition.

The event is in conjunction with the “Go Red for Women” campaign, the AHA’s national movement to raise awareness that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women.

Stephanie Dunlap, DO, associate professor in UC’s division of cardiovascular diseases and medical director of the Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplant Program at University Hospital, says that heart disease is occurring more often in young people because of bad health habits.

She adds that symptoms in women often present themselves in uncommon ways, leading to misdiagnosis.

“More women have a high-fat, high cholesterol diet accompanied with very little exercise,” Dunlap says. “Although we are more aware of heart disease and actively look for it, atypical cardiac symptoms are more likely to occur in females.”

These symptoms may include:

Back, shoulder or jaw pain
Shortness of breath
Cold sweats

Conway adds that women of all ages should know their risk factors and keep their eyes open for signs of heart problems.

“Genetics contribute to heart disease,” she says. “Women should be aware of family history, including prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.”

She adds that women who are overweight or smoke are at an increased risk for heart disease and should take extra care to acknowledge warning signs.

“You can’t change genetics, but you can change lifestyle,” Conway says. “Even small amounts of weight loss and exercise will decrease the risk of heart disease significantly.”

Source: University of Cincinnati, USA

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