Make an appointment, post it on your calendar, send a text. But, ladies, you need to make time to focus on your heart, too.
That’s the straightforward advice of St. Elizabeth cardiologist Dr. Ned Mehlman. After all, a mom’s heart belongs to the whole family.
“Women are traditionally very busy. They tend not to focus on their own health,” said Mehlman. Women may keep up with their OB-GYN appointments but may not have developed a relationship with a primary care doctor. After all, they feel young and healthy.
By their mid-30s, women need to understand their family health history and take care of themselves to ensure their health.
“It’s just simple things: weight, exercise, blood pressure, cholesterol screenings,” said Mehlman. A woman who knows both her parents died in their 50s of a heart attack needs to share that information with her primary doctor, know her numbers, and follow a healthy lifestyle.
Beyond herself, a woman should recognize heart health could become an issue with her children as they age. Her job? Make sure they know the importance of exercise, nutrition and healthy living and start lifelong healthy habits while they are young.
“Once women come in,” said Mehlman, the work of doctors and patients to ease the risks of heart disease is “fairly straightforward. The issue is they don’t come in,” he said.
“Women who have a family history of heart attacks at a younger age certainly should be very careful. Everyone should be careful,” said Mehlman.
“They, for sure, should be concerned if their weight is not under control. They should have their blood pressure checked, their blood sugars checked, and keep their weight under control.”
The checklist is simple:
- Avoid fast food
- Don’t smoke
- Exercise regularly
- Have regular medical screenings for hypertension and blood sugar
“Family doctors have to have a relationship with their patients and just explain to them: ‘Listen, this is what’s at stake,” said Mehlman.
A lot of women ages 34-55 still have their children at home. Healthy habits instituted at home will rub off on young people and help them over a lifetime.
To learn more about screenings, come to the Women Take Heart Health Event on Friday, May 5, at Dillard’s in Crestview Hills. May is Stroke Month. Cardiovascular screenings will be offered on the St. Elizabeth CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit and women who participate will receive a special gift. Call (859) 301-WELL or click here to register.