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Women twice as likely to die from heart attack than men: AHA

Women are twice as likely to die from a heart attack than men, according to the American Heart Association.

Women are twice as likely to die from a heart attack than men, according to the American Heart Association.

They also say heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in America.

It’s this kind of information they want women to hear during their “Go Red” campaign each February, hoping it can encourage them to make changes to their lifestyle, and save their own life.

Friday, St. David’s Healthcare sponsored the American Heart Association’s City Goes Red event at their South Austin Medical Center.

There, they unveiled the 2018 Survivor Gallery, which showcases 10 women who are survivors of heart disease.

Karen Christensen is an ice skater and instructor

"It gets me out there, and it's a great thing to do,” said Christensen.

She's a mother.

"My mom is truly an inspiration to me and my family,” said Christensen.

She's also a heart disease survivor, a title she's had almost her whole life.

"I was first diagnosed with a heart problem when I was six years old,” said Christensen.

After open-heart surgery, her heart problems returned later in life.

"I didn't want to admit it was a heart problem,” said Christensen.

Now, it’s something she continues to fight.

"I've had 22 cardioversions, I've had two oblasions, and I currently live in a fibrillation,” said Christensen.

"It's tough, it's tough, but my mom is a trooper, always a fighter,” said Christensen’s 22-year-old son, Tyler.

He’s been by her side the whole way.

"I don't think people really realize how significant heart disease and heart failure can be, especially for women,” said Christensen.

"It delays time to critical treatment, and the longer we wait to address these heart issues, the higher the mortality, and the worse the outcome,” said St. David’s Cardiologist Vivek Goswami.

According to Goswami, women can have symptoms we don't normally associate with heart problems, like jaw, stomach or back pain, or even just feeling tired.

"We know when a woman has a heart attack compared to a man, she's twice as likely to die of a heart attack than compared to a man,” said Goswami.

He said women are less likely to get CPR from a stranger, they're often misdiagnosed with having anxiety, and they're less likely to get an aggressive procedure in the hospital.

"Be careful what you put in your body, exercise, stay active, and these are things that will help us live a nice, long, healthy life," said Goswami.

But he said 80 percent of heart problems can be prevented with diet and exercise, and managing stress.

Survivor Annie Dragoo said that can be the most difficult part.

"We don't know how to manage stress, and we take on everything, and we give to our families, we give to our kids, and we give to our jobs, but we don't take enough time for ourselves,” said Dragoo. "Stress can be the hardest part because, as women, we don't want to admit sometimes that we need help, or we don't want to say no to someone who asks us to do something."

She's suffered heart problems three times.

"My daughter said that, I stopped, I said, 'oh, no,' I set my Starbucks coffee cup down on the ground, I laid down and I died," said Dragoo.

Now she wants to prevent others from going through the same thing.

"Heart disease is the number one killer, but women don't know that,” said Dragoo.

And that’s the message, these survivors hope touches your heart.

"A lot of women don't think there's a problem and they wait too late,” said Christensen. "Medical research is so important too, because without all the medical breakthroughs that the heart association has made, I probably wouldn't be here standing here talking to you."

HHA Adolescent Heart Screening-FEB3 2018 by kvuenews on Scribd

Student athletes can also suffer from Heart problems. The Heart Hospital of Austin, will host a free screening Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at 3801 North Lamar Blvd.