Thursday, May 10, 2007
For Mother's Day, focus on the heart
The best gift you can give to your mother this Mother's Day is a heart-to-heart, about well... her heart. It's a fact. Heart disease is the biggest killer of men, and women. Heart disease kills far more women than breast cancer, and yet few people, even doctors, know that. This month, take time to make sure your mom is getting her heart checked out. Today is my mom's birthday and I called her first thing to remind her.

Here are some things to specifically look for: Besides an accurate blood pressure reading, which she should remember for future comparisons, she should get blood tests, including cholesterol and triglycerides. An EKG, or electrocardiogram, which checks the heart's electrical activity, is also a good start. If she has ever had any symptoms, she may need a stress test or another heart study to determine whether she has any calcifications or blockages.

Speaking of symptoms, women don't always have the classic Hollywood heart attack, where one hand comes up to the chest - think Fred Sanford in "Sanford and Son" (Yes, I am dating myself.) Instead, a heart problem may just first look like unusual tiredness, pain in the stomach, arms and neck or just shortness of breath. The biggest defense it to make sure you are thinking about it, along with Mom. I have heard countless stories where a woman, thinking it was indigestion or fatigue, ignored symptoms that turned into a devastating heart attack.

Next Monday, Laura Bush is giving me an exclusive interview about issues related to women's health. She has made this part of her wide platform as first lady, including the national "Red Dress" campaign, which serves as a visual reminder that this disease robs us of half a million sisters, daughters and yes, mothers - every single year.

After six years in my job, I am always surprised that we are still telling people about this relationship between heart disease and women. Is it not as sexy to talk about as other health care conditions? Does women's heart disease need stronger and louder advocates? There are doctors who believe we can eliminate heart disease in women with what we already know, but the first step is getting women checked out. How do we get there? Also, any questions you would like me to ask Laura Bush next week?
Since we're talking about Laura Bush and heart attacks, Please ask her this...Did she know that her visit to Tennessee State University last month about cause us students to have a heart attack? Well probably not, but she was wonderful. She came to our college to speak to some young students, but the campus was crawling with security guards and most of us couldn't get to class because of it, and just about an hour after our beloved First Lady Laura Bush left our campus, some of the students accidentally started a fire in the Bio Chemistry lab. Even though it was a little fire, it smoked up the whole building and police and firemen were everywhere. Needless to say it was a very exciting day to be on the TSU campus. It was like the exciting presents of our First Lady Laura Bush and than the place just goes up in flames.(HEY LAURA BUSH IS HOT HUN?) I should've sent CNN pictures. To bad I didn't have my camera, or I would have.

But back to a real question, I am a woman who sometimes gets heart palpations, where it feels like my heart is skipping beats. It usually happens before big tests. Is this just normal test anxiety that everyone has, or is there anything I should do about it? So do I have more of a chance of having heart Dz because I'm like this, or should I just consider this normal stress that everyone has?

PS: Tell Laura Bush if she would please come back to TSU, we students at TSU promise we won't set the place on fire next time. (IT WASN'T ME) Tell Laura Bush we really really really like her. She reminds me of Betty Crocker, or maybe Betty on the Flintstones or something, and that it would make us very happy if she would come back. And George W. can be like Barney too hun? Yeah I think George has got the ears for it. He's got them cute Barney ears. He should come visit us too, so we can pet his ears. (Giggle)

I'm going to miss George when he's not pres anymore, he's been like the best President to make of.

Ann Stewart Nashville, TN
Hey Dr. Gupta~
I am curious to know what Laura Bush's diet consist of. Does SHE eat a plant based diet as you suggest in your book?
What kind of exercise does Mrs. Bush get?
Does she have high blood pressure or high colesterol?
Why is it that women are more vulnerable to heart attacks than men? And at what age does that start getting serious? And does fatness contribute in making it more dangerous?
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends -- info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
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