Dr. Elizabeth Dang Discusses Heart Disease in Women

Dr. Elizabeth Dang Discusses Heart Disease in Women


– Well, February is National Heart Month, so, tomorrow is National Wear Red Day, get your wardrobe ready as a show of support in the
battle against heart disease specifically for women. It is the number one killer of women taking half a million lives every year. We’re joined once again this
year by Doctor Elizabeth Dang of Belton Regional and
Menorah Medical Center. Thank you so much for stopping by. – Thank you so much for
having me again this year. – Unfortunately, we still
have to talk about this topic because what is it now, one in three women will have
issues with their heart. – One in three women will
experience heart disease and that compares to one in 33 women who experience breast cancer. – [Carolyn] Yet, breast
cancer gets all the press, still, right?
– We talk about it every year, but, it continues to be
so important to stress the education, and learning
the tips, and the symptoms, and the signs, and prevention, and February Heart Month gives
us a terrific opportunity to refresh and renew those tips and signs. – [Carolyn] So, we talk
about this year to year. What do you think is the main
message about the symptoms or about the things we should be doing? What’s the message that’s
not getting across? – [Elizabeth] Well, I think
the message is getting across, but, we need to continue
to discuss the message which is 80% of heart
disease is preventable. Fully, 80% is preventable and modifiable with lifestyle modification and getting your risk factors modified and going to see your doctor
and getting things checked out. The 20% you can’t control
is aging, getting older, and family genetic risk, but, the other 80% is fully modifiable and I think it’s important to
recognize those risk factors. – [Carolyn] Okay, so,
let’s go through some of those risk factors, especially, the biggies you
see as the biggest problem with your patients. – [Elizabeth] Absolutely,
I think the first thing, the first risk factor we need
to talk about is smoking. So, smoking.
– You still see a lot of smoking aren’t you?
– We still see a lot of smoking and it’s something that
although it can be difficult to quit, it’s modifiable. If you are a smoker, a woman who smokes, your risk is increased up to four times that of a non-smoker of
developing heart disease through your lifetime and if you quite smoking now, you can reduce your risk by
50% within the next 12 months, but, it takes about 10 years
to reduce your cardiac risk to a non-smoker after you quit smoking. So, it’s
– But, it is reversible, that’s promising. – It’s reversible, absolutely, so, it’s never too late
to quit or reduce the risk and then, secondly, high blood pressure. A lot of people have
silent high blood pressure and don’t realize it,
so, it’s so important to get an annual checkup with your doctor even if you feel well. We diagnosis a lot of
silent high blood pressure and then, diabetes is a
third major risk factor, so, high blood sugars and
diabetes takes ravages on the heart, the kidneys,
a lot of organ systems, and then, high cholesterol. So, high cholesterol is a silent disease. You’re not going to know
you have high cholesterol unless you go in to get
your annual physical and get your
– Right, you won’t feel it. – Cholesterol labs checked.
– Yeah. – And then, other risk factors
include family history, so, if you have pre-mature heart disease in your mother or your father, you may be at higher risk, genetically. And then, sedentary lifestyle and then, also what you eat is important. – I like that you say, basically, when in doubt, check it out. – Yes, when in doubt,
– Ask the question. – if you’re not sure if
you have risk factors, even if you feel well, it’s important to get an annual physical and know your numbers,
know your blood pressure, know your blood sugar, know your cholesterol numbers, and if you have any signs or symptoms and you’re worried about heart attack, it’s so important to get it checked out. If you think your having
an acute heart attack, call 911, and you know, if you think
you’re having a heart attack, but, your symptoms are
mild and they’ve gone away – You think it’s heartburn,
– But, now, you’re worried. – [Carolyn] right? – Yeah, it’s still important
to get it checked out and go see your doctor. Sometimes it’s difficult
to distinguish between GI and heartburn symptoms versus
a heart attack symptom. – Right. – If you have acid reflux
and you have burying up the esophagus that can burn the chest and it can give you similar chest pain, but, it may occur more after you eat, after spicy meals, but, if you have symptoms
of a heart attack where you have chest pain
whether it’s in the center, or the left, or the right side, or it radiates to your jaw,
or your arm, or your neck, that may occur more with
activities, or emotional, or physical stress, but, if you’re not sure, some patients have atypical symptoms, again, the key is go see your
doctor and get it checked out. – Don’t risk it, Doctor
Dang, thank you, as always, – It’s wonderful to see you.
– For stopping by, here. For more from HCA Midwest
Health go to KCTV5.com, click on Better Health.