February is National Heart Month. Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center joined the national campaign by providing some heart healthy events for its staff. The Claxton-Hepburn Health Nuts, the Medical Center’s wellness team, sponsored a heart health lunch and learn on February 1, and a Go Red Day celebration on February 2.
Dr. Nupur Nagrare, family medicine practitioner at Claxton-Hepburn’s Health Center in Ogdensburg, and Allison Felt, registered dietitian at Claxton-Hepburn, provided the free woman-focused heart health lunch and learn. According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 289,758 women in 2013—that's about 1 in every four female deaths. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man's disease,” around the same number of women and men, die each year of heart disease in the United States. Dr. Nagrare noted, “Heart disease is the most common cause of death and disability in women. In fact, it surpasses stroke, lung cancer, COPD, and breast cancer mortalities in women.” She continued, “Heart disease affects one in nine women between the ages of 45-64 and one in three above the age of 64.”
Dr. Nagrare stated, “From my perspective as a primary care provider, I treat the whole person using a mind-body approach. Primary prevention is all about treating the person as a whole and asking the right questions.” Common risk factors she routinely asks about include age, family history, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, stress, and metabolic syndrome. Some uncommon risk factors she looks for include preterm birth, early menstruation, menopause, oral contraceptive use, prior hysterectomy, hypertension during pregnancy, and gestational diabetes.
Dr. Nagrare stated, “It’s essential to listen to our bodies when they are trying to tell us something. Women tend to brush off heart attack symptoms as something else because they can be much different than what a male might experience during a heart attack.” Some common symptoms include chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath, sweating, jaw pain, neck pain, or sudden pain in the arms. Some uncommon symptoms include the absence of chest pain, abdominal pain, back pain, flu-like symptoms, and failure to identify signs both by providers and the patient especially if younger than age 40.
Prevention and personal responsibility also play a role in preventing heart disease. Ms. Felt noted, “Women should watch their diet, exercise and be active, maintain a reasonable BMI and weight.” Dr. Nagrare added, “People should avoid or drink alcohol in moderation, reduce stress, get mental health support, get enough sleep, and most importantly stop smoking.” She continued, “Your physician can help by monitoring your blood pressure and cholesterol, discuss nutrition, screen for depression, proper medication management, routine EKG and stress test monitoring, and regular visits with your provider.”
Shown in the photo are Dr. Nagrare and Ms. Felt. For more information about Dr. Nagrare, visit us at www.providers/claxtonhepburn.org. She is also taking new patients. Appointments can be made by calling 315-394-9462. Your tomorrow is worth defending.