More than 50 members attended the monthly H2U Brunch and Learn meeting held last week at Central Florida Regional Hospital. The guest speaker was Dr. Lawrence Vallerio, board certified cardiologist and current chair of the cardiology department at Central Florida Regional Hospital. The presentation was entitled “Updates in Cardiology” and included several clinical vignettes: Coronary Disease, Heart Attacks and Treatment, Risk Factors, and Women and Heart Disease.
A Timely Overview of Heart Disease Facts
The clinical causes of a heart attack were outlined with a focus on blood clots and plaque. The signs of a heart attack differ for men and women; men tend to feel a squeezing fullness or pressure in their chests; pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath; cold sweat; nausea and/or lightheadedness. On the other hand, women may feel pain in the chest, upper back, jaw or neck; and shortness of breath, but may also have feelings of anxiety; loss of appetite; fatigue or weakness; and/ or flu-like symptoms.
While surgery was the first line of treatment for heart attack years ago, treatments now include clot busting drugs, angioplasty and angioplasty with stents (bare-metal stents or drug eluding stents).
There are several risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) over which we have no control: increasing age, male gender, family history of heart disease, race and past heart disease and stroke. However, many factors for CHD can be controlled: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes and use of tobacco. Making the decision to change one’s lifestyle and following doctor’s orders with regard to blood pressure and cholesterol medication can have a major impact on extending the life of patients with CDH.
Of the one million people who will die of CHD each year, 53% are women. More women die of CHD than all other diseases combined. This is due, in part, to women’s inaccurate perception of their health threats. Women tend to believe that cancer is the greatest threat to their health when in actuality CHD is the leading cause of death among women. As women age, they lose estrogen, which puts them at greater risk for heart disease. Women also tend to be unaware of the symptoms of a heart attack and therefore, do not seek treatment. Both men and women need to know their numbers—cholesterol and blood pressure and be aware of the risk factors for CHD.
For more information regarding treatments for heart disease, please call Central Florida Regional Hospital’s Heart Institute at 407-321-4500, ext. 5372 To find out how to join the H2U program, please call 407-321-4500, ext 7385 or visit H2U at our website, centralfloridaregional.com.