Friday, March 2, 2012

The importance of heart health


ROWS OF RED: The winners of the MGH’s “Wear Red” photo contest are the Heart Failure/Interventional/Vascular staff who work on Gray Bigelow 8.


In honor of American Heart Month, the MGH Heart Center hosted a number of events throughout February to raise awareness and educate patients and staff about heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S.

A lecture hosted by MGH Senior HealthWISE, “Preventing and Healing Heart Disease,” kicked things off Feb. 2 with speaker Malissa Wood, MD, co-director of the MGH Heart Center’s Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program, who discussed cardiovascular health and its physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. 

On Feb. 3, MGH Heart Center physicians –including Wood, Nandita Scott, MD, co-director of the Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program, Claudia Chae, MD, MPH, clinical cardiologist and cardiovascular epidemiologist, and Maria Vivaldi, MD, cardiologist – presented at the Massachusetts Medical Society’s seventh annual Women’s Cardiac Health Conference at the society’s headquarters in Waltham. Topics included epidemiology of stroke and ischemic heart disease, evaluation of chest pain in women and myths about heart disease in the Latino population. On the same day, many MGH employees participated in National Wear Red Day, to show support for women’s heart health.

Scott also was the featured speaker at a Feb. 6 “Women and Heart Disease” luncheon presentation in the Thier Conference Room. Later in the month, MGH Heart Center physicians attended the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Luncheon and Educational Forum at the Boston Sheraton Hotel.

MGH Month-Long Series on Heart Health

Pregnancy and Heart Disease
Statin Effects in Women
Widening Geographic Disparities in Hospitalized Heart Attack Incidence and Outcome Rates
Treating Heart Failure in the 21st Century

Tips for a healthy heart
– Malissa Wood, MD

1. Know your numbers: blood pressure, fasting cholesterol and glucose, and body mass index.

2. Don’t smoke. If you do, get help with smoking cessation.

3. Know your family history: coronary disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, sudden cardiac death and valve disease can all be inherited.

4. Exercise 150 minutes per week (taking the stairs at work counts). Increments as little as 10 minutes count toward this goal.

5. Do not consume trans fats, eat less than 7 percent saturated fats and at least seven servings of fruits and veggies daily. Eat lean meats if you eat meat, and eat whole grain cereal products and fish two times per week.

6. Manage stress and maximize your support network. Friends can help you lose weight, exercise better and adopt a healthier lifestyle.

7. If you have new symptoms that are of concern, get them checked by a physician. These include fatigue, palpitations, chest, back, arm or neck pain, and shortness of breath with activity.

8. Be an agent of change for your family: encourage your kids, grandchildren, partner and friends to become more active.

Read more articles from the 03/02/12 Hotline issue.

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