CONYERS, Ga. - Every fall, the nation goes pink in honor of breast cancer
awareness. Thousands march, fundraise and sport pink clothing to call attention
to the disease. Yet little will be said about heart disease, which kills more
women than lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer combined, according to Dr. Druenell Linton, cardiologist with Piedmont Heart of Conyers.
“All women face the threat of heart disease,” Linton said. It is estimated that one in eight women will get breast cancer in their lifetime while one in three women will have heart disease in her lifetime. Heart disease poses a particular threat to women in Georgia, which has the 12th highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country.
In the state of Georgia, heart disease and stroke account for 28.2 percent of all female deaths, according to the American Heart Association. That’s the equivalent of about 27 deaths each day.
“There are many factors that can increase a woman’s risk of heart disease, like age or weight” Linton said. “Another possible reason is that we tend to delay seeking care we need or put it off all together. We’re so good at making sure our loved ones are eating right, getting regular exercise and leading healthy lifestyles. We need to ensure we are doing these things for ourselves, too.”
Putting Georgia women more at risk for heart disease and stroke is lifestyle, especially eating habits. More than half of all women in Georgia are obese and overweight, according to the American Heart Association. Additionally, over 15 percent of women smoke cigarettes – another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
“While you can’t always change your risk factors, such as age and family history, there are lifestyle changes that you can control,” Linton said. She recommends not only being aware of symptoms and risks of heart disease that are unique to women, but also ensuring you eat a heart-healthy diet and exercise regularly.
For women who do not have a pre-existing heart issue, Piedmont offers a screening inclusive of a physical exam, lab work and complete health history. Women who participate in the screening receive a comprehensive heart health report they can take home with detailed recommendations and next steps.
For more information or to sign up for the women’s heart health screening at Piedmont, visit piedmont.org.