Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 1, 2014

Women's heart health takes main stage

By Brenda L. Holmes brenda.holmesflyergroup.com
Hendricks County Flyer

---- — DANVILLE — Hendricks County Senior Services once again hosted its annual Wear Red Luncheon to bring attention to women’s heart health while raising funds for the organization.

This year the main speakers were cardiologist Dr. Mark Fisch and Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson.

Fisch practices cardiology and interventional cardiology at IU Health North Hospital in Carmel.

“The statistics show that we are getting better at treating heart disease, but we still need to do more with awareness,” Fisch said. “You can tell by these old ads that women’s heart health was not a priority in the 1960s.”

He shared a few antique advertisements including one with a slogan of “How can I help my husband deal with heart disease.”

The fact is that heart disease is the number one killer of women — more than all cancers combined.

“One thing we do know is that women take longer to get treatment,” Fisch said. “Women tend to minimize symptoms.”

He said women often don’t have the “regular” symptoms that most men do, such as arm pain and profusive sweating.

“Symptoms can include pain in the left shoulder, neck pain, or even jaw pain,” he said. “And we, as physicians, need to do a better job of diagnosing and treating heart disease.”

He encouraged all the women in the audience to do things that make them less susceptible to heart disease such as not smoking, learning family history, limiting alcohol intake, and getting moderate exercise.

“Getting 30 minutes of exercise about five times a week is a good idea,” he said. “Taking a brisk walk, riding a bike, or swimming are all good ways to get exercise. It’s always a good idea to maintain a good body weight.

“Have your cholesterol checked and discuss it with your doctor. And my opinion on blood pressure is to keep it below 140/90. You will be surprised at how much reducing your sodium will lower your blood pressure.”

Lawson thanked the HCSS staff for inviting her to speak in her hometown of Danville.

“I’m so pleased to be here,” she said. “I’m honored, but speaking to a crowd of friends can be harder than speaking to strangers.”

She said heart health is so very important to every woman.

“I’m just like all of you,” she said. “As women, we can worry about friends and family but when it comes to our own health, fall short. I’ve learned that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented if we make right choices.”

She said it may be difficult to find the time, but it is necessary for women to exercise and eat right.

“You need to take care of yourself,” Lawson said. “Did you ever think about if heart disease does not kill you it can disable you? So those people depending on you will have to take care of you.”

She said it’s also important to be a good role model.

“They will notice your efforts,” Lawson said. “Schedule a family bike ride or schedule a family walk.”

She also encouraged the business professionals in the room to start fitness events for employees.

“Even you small business owners can start a walking club,” Lawson said. “You could hold a weight loss contest.”

Lawson also encouraged people to get support from the State of Indiana by using its fitness website at www.inshapeindiana.org. The website offers smoking cessation programs, nutrition information, and ways to get active.

The event is held each year with proceeds benefiting Hendricks County Senior Services.

IU Health West Hospital is the keynote sponsor each year. American Senior Communities and North Salem State Bank were major sponsors of this year’s luncheon. Several other businesses served as table sponsors, “friends of the heart,” and offered in-kind donations to make the event a success.

Each attendee enjoyed the lunch and the program, and left with a gift bag.

Lunch this year was provided by Westside Garden Senior Living and dessert was provided by The Hearth at Prestwick.