Clarian Urges Women To Be Heart Smart

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Women and Health

After age 50, Dixie Tanner had gained weight and was battling high blood pressure. Then Tanner heard about Women's HeartAdvantage (WHA) at Clarian Health Partners. The program was developed to help women understand their risks for heart disease and to empower them to take preventative action. Dixie joined WHA in 2004 after a younger sister suffered a heart attack. Dixie registered for the Women's LivLite Advantage class offered through WHA and the National Institute for Fitness and Sport. The class pushed Dixie to begin eating differently and to exercise on a treadmill. After several months, Dixie was able to stop taking medicine for high blood pressure and other ailments.

Beth Deem is the hypertension research coordinator at the Indiana University School of Medicine, but she was in a high-risk group herself as a diabetic and smoker. Deem suffered a heart attack in 2002 when she was only 37. Following quadruple bypass surgery, she fought back by changing her eating habits. Deem began exercising on a treadmill, and she quit smoking. Although Deem is still battling cardiovascular disease, her blood sugar numbers have improved and her cholesterol has been lowered.

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Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 killers of both men and women in the United States. Women are at a distinct disadvantage, as heart disease kills more women than men. Elisabeth von der Lohe, MD, WHA director at The Clarian Cardiovascular Center, says many women assume that cardiovascular disease is a man's disease.

"Since women develop cardiovascular diseases on average about 10 years later and heart attacks about 20 years later in life than men, the myth developed that women don't get cardiovascular and, in particular, heart disease," says Dr. von der Lohe.

Don't be fooled by the myth. Learn about your risk factors, and begin implementing the changes that improved these women's lives.

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