Seminar Encourages Women to Get Heart-Healthy in February

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Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women over 25 in the United States – and many don’t even know it. The Center for Women’s Cardiac Health & Research at Long Beach Memorial focuses on heart disease prevention in women by helping them determine how they are affected and manage individual health risk factors.

Being that one of the risk factors for heart disease is family history, it was important for April Barnes, director of annual giving at the Memorial Medical Center Foundation, to take a look at her heart.

With everything from heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and a gamut of other heart ailments on both sides of April Barnes’ family, she knew she needed to make significant life changes. Although, her mom had some doubts.

“Well, it’s genetic; there’s nothing you can do about it,” Barnes’ mom said, as they spoke about the long history of heart illnesses that runs through their family line.

At 28, Barnes took an active approach to ensuring her best health by receiving her first women’s cardiac screening. When she learned that she too was overweight with high cholesterol, the results served as a catalyst to maintain healthy eating and exercise.

The specialized care team at the Center for Women’s Cardiac Health & Research screens more than 500 women annually. A cardiovascular risk screening designed for women, a vascular screening for peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and a fibrillation screening are available at the Center. Long Beach Memorial urges women to embrace their heart and schedule annual cardiac screenings.

With her health in her hands, it was not long before Barnes lowered her cholesterol significantly and lost 25 pounds. She recommends the cardiac screening because women can discuss the nuances of heart health in a comfortable and reassuring setting. She has become a “cheerleader” of sorts to those seeking healthier lifestyles.

Barnes endured a host of running jokes while bringing veggies, fruit and dip to her office’s birthday cake celebration, but all in good fun for a woman who makes a heart healthy difference.

To garner awareness of how devastating heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases are to women, the Center for Women’s Cardiac Health & Research works closely with Long Beach Memorial’s Stroke Program. The physicians and care teams of each program work closely together to coordinate care for patients.

In celebration of American Heart Month, Long Beach Memorial is hosting the Women’s Heart & Stroke Seminar on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 a.m.

Seminar attendees will learn how to manage risk factors, such as high cholesterol, glucose (sugar levels), high-blood pressure, obesity, smoking and lifestyle. Blood pressure, carotid artery ultrasound, cholesterol and blood glucose (non-fasting) screenings will be available. Heart disease and stroke specialists will share the latest information about recognition and treatment of heart disease and stroke specific to women. Register for this event by calling (562) 933-0100.

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