NORWAY – Dr. David J. Kumaki of Oxford Hills Internal Medicine Group, discussed women’s heart health at a Best of Health Seminar on Feb. 22 at the Ripley Medical Building.

The public seminar, “Women and Heart Disease: You’ve Come a Long Way Baby!,” was sponsored by Western Maine Health and Stephens Memorial Hospital.

One of the most common myths about cardiovascular disease is that it is a man’s disease, according to a report by Healthy Maine Partnerships. But the report said that every year since 1984, more women in the U.S. have died of cardiovascular disease than men.

Kumaki said, “One out of two women will have heart disease in the U.S., and one out of three U.S. women will die of some kind of cardiovascular disease. Every minute a women dies of some form of cardiovascular disease.”

Approximately 9,000 women in the U.S. will have their first heart before the age 45, he said. Risk factors include age, family history, race and gender.

Major risk factors for coronary heart disease are tobacco smoke, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. Women who have diabetes are three to seven times more likely to die from heart disease.

Kumaki said, “Oxford County has the highest rate of (obesity) in the state of Maine, and women are 10 times more likely to get congestive heart failure if diabetic compared to a non-diabetic woman.”

He stated, “If a person gets to the point of bypass, or angioplasty, etc., we have already failed. The goal is to not get there.”

To learn more about heart disease in women, talk to a health care professional or visit SMH Health Information Library and talk with Deb Clark. Best of Health Seminars are offered to the public monthly free.

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