Jan. 15, 2005 — As a woman, you are more likely to die from a heart attack than breast cancer. Once upon a time heart disease was labeled a man's problem; clinical trials did not include women, therefore many medical professionals and patients didn't consider them at risk. Those days are over, and women are getting the facts thanks in part to a seminar hosted by the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital.
Dr. Roy D. Flood, cardiologist at the hospital, and Dr. Mercedes K.C. Dullum surgical director at the Cleveland Clinic Florida Heart Failure Center, spoke to a standing room only crowd Wednesday evening to talk about heart disease in women, prevention, and new ways to treat it.
"Coronary artery disease, which causes heart attack, is the leading cause of death for American women," Flood said. "In addition, African-American women are at a 15 percent greater risk than white women."
The annual numbers of heart failure have increased over the last several years, and women are at the top of the race. Coronary artery disease is the most common reason for heart failure. Diabetes, smoking, and obesity are some of the predictors.
Flood spoke about the management and treatment of coronary heart disease in women.
"Women must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of coronary disease in order to prevent it from occurring," Flood said.
Dr. Mercedes K.C. Dullum, spoke about the latest treatments available in cardiac surgery, including her work in beating heart, non-invasive, and using robotics in heart surgery. Dullum also mentioned cardiac cell therapy which researchers are just now investigating, in which cells placed in the heart would regenerate and bring heart muscle back.
What tests should women do routinely to prevent heart disease? Flood says it doesn't mean an expensive battery of lab tests. "Check your blood pressure, cholesterol, and know your family history. They all tie into what you could develop over time."
Flood joined the Schneider Hospital six months ago when he left Washington Hospital Center, one of the top 15 heart centers in the country. Flood worked with Dullum when Dullum was a senior attending surgeon at Washington Hospital Center.
For more information on heart disease, log onto www.americanheart.org, www.hearthealthwomen.org or www.womenheart.org.
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