Women and Heart Health – Blake Medical Center

Women and Heart Health – Blake Medical Center


(uplifting music) Hello, I’m Melissa Morgan
from Blake Medical Center and this is Healthy Living, a show that brings you
the information you need to live a healthier, happier life. Today’s episode, we
will be discussing women and heart health and I am very honored to have Dr. Jessica Babare
with me to discuss the topic. Dr. Babare is a cardiologist on staff at Blake Medical Center and she practices at Cardiovascular Solutions Institute. Thank you so much for being here with us. Can you tell us a little bit about women and heart disease? I get the feeling that there’s
still this misconception that heart problems are
mans’ problems, you know, but I feel like there’s
more to it than that. Absolutely, that’s a common misconception and it’s sometimes
misunderstood by physicians as well as the lay public. But actually, cardiovascular
diseases make up the leading cause of death for
all people, including women. They cause far more death
and disease than cancers, all forms of cancers combined so it’s definitely something that everyone needs to be aware about. Alright, and so what’s the difference between men and women, then? Why is there this divide? I think there’s a lot
of press about cancer, breast cancer awareness and whatnot, I think it just is less in the public eye. But more and more people
are becoming aware because of campaigns from the
American Heart Association, about the Red Dress Campaign and whatnot. But women are becoming more proactive and there are more campaigns for awareness and they’re getting more savvy
about their heart health. – [Melissa] That’s good news. So when it comes to, say, a heart attack, what do we see that’s
different in men versus women? In all people, most people
are going to have chest pain as the number one sign
of heart related illness, but women more than men sometimes present with atypical symptoms. They do often have chest pain, they’ll be most likely to have chest pain, but the chest pain may
or may not be associated with other symptoms that
sometimes fall off peoples’ radar when it comes to their heart. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, a weird, cold sweat,
we call it diaphoresis, where you break out into a sweat for really no good reason,
fatigue, dizziness, and sometimes just a sense
of overwhelming anxiety that something’s wrong,
a non-specific thing that you can’t really put your finger on, especially when taken in concert, all these things happening at once. Trouble breathing is
a very common one too. It’s often presenting in women who are having heart problems. Sometimes men, but if you’re
going to have atypical symptoms of heart disease, it’s most
likely gonna occur in a female patient, which a lot of people
don’t recognize or know. So it might be easy to
ignore some of these. Ignore, not even know. Some of our patients come to
us hours into these spells of indigestion or fatigue
that are non-specific things, they thought, oh it’ll
just pass, it’s a flu, or I’m just not feeling well, and not until the heart
attack is very advanced and many hours have passed
did the patient present. Or days later even sometimes because the symptoms were so non-specific. I know I’m guilty of,
I’m a mom, I’m a wife, and I have a tendency to ignore things. Is that common among women? Women are notorious for this, and I deal with this with
my patients all the time. There’s this sense of
guilt with many women, especially women of some
of the older generations that there is this
obligation to put everyone before themselves, so they
feel ashamed or guilty, or that they’re a burden. Even a burden to tell,
they feel guilty telling me in the office that they
have these symptoms. And I think women really
need to look at themselves and understand that they are a priority and that their family needs
them to take good care of themselves in order
to be a good caregiver to the ones they love. Absolutely, it’s hard to take care of someone else if you’re sick. Right, if you’re sick, exactly, exactly. What are some of the, do we know the reasons why
some of these are different in women than men? I don’t know that anyone
has clearly understood it. It may have to do with some
of the hormonal differences. We really don’t know. Some other patterns with women, women uniquely are protected
by the reproductive hormones that come with youth and we
see that females, luckily, have a later presentation of heart disease on average than men. Men are usually meeting the highest risk for coronary artery
disease in their sixties, whereas women are usually
protected into their seventies, and so this is usually a benefit to women. We see also that any woman
who’s had early menopause because of surgical or chemical reasons or just early menopause for
their own biological reasons, they usually have a risk that
increases post-menopause, even if the menopause
has become early onset because of a hysterectomy, et cetera. So there’s something perhaps hormonal about the way that heart
disease affects women. But we do see that the disease comes later in life for most women. Alright, well we’re going
to take a quick break and we will be right back with
more from Dr. Jessica Babare. It started out like a totally normal day. (alarm rings) (blender whirs) (cat meows) (child laughs) I love you. I mean, I guess I was a little sweaty and I was definitely sore. I thought I had gas. Turns out I was having a heart attack. Heart disease is the number
one killer of American women. So now I take care of my heart and I tell the women in
my life to do the same. Sounds great, by the way. That’s nice, sweetie,
but that’s not my heart. That is. Find out more from the
American Heart Association at GoRedForWomen.org. The fact that they were able
to get to Blake so quickly, and it was so close, I
think was a major factor in Sarah’s recovery and
possibly in saving her life. I had had a seizure, and
while I was unconscious, my dog attacked me and I
lost most of my left ear and my carotid artery
was ripped wide open. I had no radio pulse,
really every minute counted. They got me to the local air field, and Bayflite flew me to Blake Hospital. – [Man] I was standing in front of a truck and I got hit by a Jeep
doing over 50 miles an hour. When I was in the ambulance, I kept on telling the ambulance driver that I couldn’t breathe and that’s the last
thing I really remember. And I guess we was getting
close at that point, I’ve died out once in the ambulance. Last year on December fourth, I was racing dirt bikes. I was actually at the race and he was just out of my sight but I took off running as soon as I heard, I went down the creek and
stayed with him, you know, while the paramedics were
getting him out of the creek and over to the helicopter. I didn’t know what to say,
I didn’t know what to think. It was almost like my
world had just stopped. If you get injured in this
county, Sarasota County, you have help, qualified
help, good help minutes away. People having access to
immediate trauma care in their community saves
lives and reduces morbidity. Basically more than one thing, I think we’re passionate
about giving great care. We’re dedicated to being
the best that we can be, and supporting our community and making a difference and saving lives. It started with the first responders. They have a relationship where one hand knows what the other hand’s doing. The trauma surgeons are here in the house, we sleep here, and as
soon as we get that call, everybody’s ready, the trauma surgeon, the entire team waiting
for you to come in the door in the trauma bay and we’re always ready for whatever may come in
there to help save lives. – [Man] It was nice to
have him right there, you know, kinda in the backyard instead of having to go to Tampa. If I had to go to Tampa every single day, I would have had to miss
work for probably a month, you know, and I can’t do that. His friends were a huge
part of his recovery. His family, they could all
go up there and see him. – [Sarah] Because Blake
was so close to my house, my family was there with
me every single day. They said I got great care in the ICU, I don’t remember any of that. They were really nice. There was a lady there
that was like a volunteer, and she still e-mails me today. She called me her grandson,
and it’s nice to see it, you know, it makes my day to
see something like that still. You might not even think
about a trauma center until you need it and I was just blessed that there was one there that
could actually do something to help me continue going, you know. Because I don’t know
if I would have made it if it wouldn’t have been there. – [Lynne] You will get top-notch care. I would not hesitate for
myself or a family member or a friend to be treated
at this trauma center. Welcome back to Healthy Living. I’m Melissa Morgan, and today’s
guest is Dr. Jessica Babare. Our topic today is
Women and Heart Disease. So we were talking about the differences between men and women. Tell us a little bit
about what women can do to prevent heart problems. This is the good news in all of the news about heart disease. It is the leading cause
of death and disease but it’s also very preventable. There are several risk factors, and the majority of them are preventable. The good news too is that
even the risk factors that are not preventable such as your age, your genetic makeup, and your sex, those are also heavily influenced by the things we do in our daily life. Much of our risk is
something we choose to do. It’s our lifestyle, the foods we eat, the activities that we
do on a daily basis, and the way we manage stress. These are all things that
we make decisions about every single day and they play hugely into our risk factors for
coronary artery disease. The big players are
our food, our activity, and whether or not we smoke. Managing stress is a big deal too. These all work together
to trigger and make worse the diseases that kind of
confound heart disease, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and our blood cholesterol. By managing our food,
eating a healthy diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, natural foods, minimizing fried foods, minimizing animal products, and keeping a very active lifestyle, these minimize every risk factor that leads to heart disease. The high blood pressure is reduced, the blood cholesterol levels are dropped, and our weight maintains,
and our blood sugar levels. So it’s really a small
number of very important daily steps that significantly drop our risk for heart disease. Pretty simple, it’s not
easy, but it’s very simple. The one factor too that
is a huge deal is smoking. And that’s just a black and white issue. Smoking is poisonous to the arteries. Not just the arteries in the heart, but the arteries everywhere. The ones that are in our brain, our legs, our kidneys, everywhere. So if you can stay active every day, eat a very healthy, well-balanced diet, keep a healthy body weight, and not smoke, every risk factor is
reduced significantly, and your chances of
preventing a heart attack, delaying it maybe until you’re much older, or even if you do have it, reducing the complications
associated with it, helping you have a better
recovery or better outcome should you have a heart attack anyway, these are all things
you have control over, and that’s the good news. That’s wonderful news. So if I was going to alter my diet and make sure I exercise more, is this something where
I just have to go out and completely change my
life, or is this small steps, what’s the best way to
do something like that? It just depends where you are. I always encourage my patients
to start where they are and make small, consistent improvements. Consistency is the big deal. Of course it’s better that you go and make the big changes across the board, but if you’re starting somewhere
where you do have a diet full of fried foods, processed foods, you have a lot of weight to
lose, you’re very inactive, you’re not gonna have much
success just jumping in and being a marathoner, it
just won’t happen, right. So you have to make
small changes every day. I ask my patients to set a goal
and stick to it for a month, a good, solid month before
they set the next goal. Everyone’s different, you have to find out what works for you. But my theory about
this is that consistency is far more important than
big, sweeping changes. And that if you long-term make multiple, consistent, small
changes, they slowly build long-term into these
big lifestyle changes. But keeping a very healthy
diet for a person who’s already eating pretty healthy isn’t
gonna be that big of a deal. To just completely cut
out all detrimental foods won’t be a big deal for that person. However, we have a person who’s much more associating themselves with
processed foods and fast food, things like that, they’ll maybe
need to make smaller steps to get long-term into the best, ideal situation for their heart. Wonderful, so what if someone already has heart disease though, how
do they manage those risks that they have and try and make themselves as healthy as they can be? Well, coronary artery
disease, even if you have it, is something that you have
to manage with your lifestyle if you’re gonna have success with it. And so if you’ve already
had a heart attack, you have heart disease,
have heart failure, other heart related problems, you need to talk with your own doctors to see what they think is safe for you. What do they recommend when it comes to your exertional levels, what’s safe when it comes to exercise? Nutrition is something that’s usually, no matter where you are on the spectrum, you can work those changes
into your day to day. It is a good idea, however, to
seek counseling from a doctor that you trust who knows more about you to get the best recommendations,
what would be safe for you. No matter how hard we work at it, no matter how hard we try to do great diet and you know, sometimes,
heart attacks happen. So whether you’re a man or a woman, or it’s your loved one, what do you do? Well, the saying we have in
medicine is time is muscle, and that’s one of the most important keys. I, as a cardiologist, and my
patients need to understand, the longer a heart muscle
is deprived of oxygen, the more damage occurs to that muscle. And when we have the best
outcome for our patients who are having heart attacks, it’s when we understand time is muscle, and we get to the blocked
arteries as soon as possible. On my side, I just drop and run. I’m on call, they call
me from the ER, I go in. But if you’re the patient, what do you do? Well, we talked about the
symptoms for a heart attack. You need to be able to recognize,
and that’s the first step. Recognize them in yourself
and in someone you love. Chest pain, shortness of
breath, a funny sweat, and these symptoms are going to be worse when you exert yourself. Even small things like walking may make these symptoms worse. These are signs of heart attack. If you think you’re having these signs, you need to stop what you’re doing, immediately sit and rest,
take a baby aspirin, and if it’s severe, you
call 911 right then, don’t hesitate, don’t question. If you’re with someone,
have them call for 911. And if these symptoms are very mild or they only come about
with extreme exertion or only intermittently and they’re very, very quick to go away,
they’re very subtle or mild, then that’s something you need to call your doctor about right away. Over the phone or get an
appointment right away. But any symptoms that are
anything more than mild, mild, mild that go away very quickly need to be, sit down, call
911, because time is muscle. If you’re having a heart attack, you don’t have time to lose. Getting to the hospital
as soon as possible will help you get the
best chance for recovery and to protect your heart from the damage. I was in a seminar with the
American Heart Association and one of the things
that really stuck with me is women are hesitant to call 911 because they’re I don’t know, and the thing that they said
that really stuck with me was nobody ever dies from embarrassment, people die from heart attacks every day. – [Jessica] Yes, yes. Yes, and this is so funny, studies show that women
will call for someone else but not themselves, they ask a woman, if this happens, will
you call for yourself? They say no. They ask, same scenario, would
you call for someone else? They say, yes, absolutely. Which is going back to the
thing we were talking about that women often wanna put
other people before them, their own priorities,
so it’s good for women to look at themselves and
say, do I care about my health enough to do something
as simple as calling 911? Absolutely, okay we’re gonna
take one last short break and then we’ll be right back with more from Dr. Jessica Babare. It started out like a totally normal day. (alarm rings) (blender whirs) (cat meows) (child laughs) I love you. I mean, I guess I was a little sweaty and I was definitely sore. I thought I had gas. Turns out I was having a heart attack. Heart disease is the number
one killer of American women. So now I take care of my heart and I tell the women in
my life to do the same. Sounds great, by the way. That’s nice, sweetie,
but that’s not my heart. That is. Find out more from the
American Heart Association at GoRedForWomen.org. – [Man] Wait, you wait in traffic, at the supermarket,
for a table to open up, but in an emergency, minutes matter and they shouldn’t be spent waiting. That’s why HCA West Florida
ERs have the expertise to handle the most
critical emergencies fast. Last year, 75 percent of our patients were seen in 25 minutes or less. HCA West Florida, why wait? Every minute counted. We’re always ready for whatever may come in there to help and save lives. I’ve died out once in the ambulance. It was almost like my
world had just stopped. If you get injured in this
county, Sarasota County, you have help minutes away. You might not even think about a trauma center until you need it. We’re passionate about giving great care, we’re dedicated to being
the best that we can be, making a difference and saving lives. When it comes to your health, just because an issue isn’t obvious doesn’t mean it’s not there. In the case of lung cancer, you may not see any outward symptoms of this deadly disease
until it’s too late. Fortunately, if lung
cancer is detected early, the disease is very treatable. That is why Blake Medical Center
now offers lung screenings for current or former smokers who have never been
diagnosed with lung cancer. A low dose CT scan is a simple test that can give you peace of mind. It’s one of the best ways
to ensure your lung health. Contact our lung care
center’s patient navigator to see if you’re eligible and to set up an appointment today. Welcome back to Healthy Living. I’m Melissa Morgan and today’s
guest is Dr. Jessica Babare. We were just discussing
the steps we can take to reduce our risk for heart
attack and heart disease as well as what to do if we think someone is suffering from a heart attack. Now, to me, your passion for
heart care and heart health and women and heart
disease is very obvious. Can you tell us a little bit about how you got to be so passionate? Well I think it’s just the way I was made, to put it simply, I’m a passionate person. But to be in this
profession and do what I do working with people in the way that I do, it is just, it’s a huge blessing to me. And so sometimes I feel like my passion is a selfish thing because
I find so much satisfaction. It sounds silly, but I really
care about my patients, I take it really personally, and as a cardiologist, a
lot of my patients are, some of them are dying
when we meet each other, or some of them have a
lot of fear or anxiety and so it really feels good
to be able to help someone, and love them through their situation and help them with their medical needs. And so that’s part of it, I
love getting to serve people in that way as their cardiologist. I think any doctor who’s put up with what we have to put up with
to get our medical degrees and do our post-graduate training, on some level we have to
be a little bit of a nerd, and I’m personally a big nerd when it comes to medicine and the body. I just find it so fascinating,
you tie in all the fun it is to help people and nurture
people, help them get better. But I just find it
fascinating that, literally, we talked about this, the
leading cause of death and disease in our country is
from, depends on the source, 80 to 90 percent preventable and that I get to help people learn that and then help them through that, that’s just priceless. And to make that my
profession and my daily work, it’s a huge blessing. I grew up with a mother who almost died of a huge heart attack. She was 36, I was in
high school at the time, and so I grew up knowing
firsthand what it was like. The fear, the anxiety, the worry
about the day to day living with someone who in my mother’s case was, when I was in high school,
on a transplant list, barely able to stay home
for more than a week or two between hospital stays. So on one level, it’s very personal to me because I can’t help but
see a little bit of my own experience with my mother
in each of my patients, but I just find it very
easy to get wrapped up in this common problem
that’s so life-threatening in some cases,
life-altering in many cases, that’s extremely preventable, extremely treatable, has such high reward. I mean, to me, it’s obvious
why it’s so gratifying. You used a turn of phrase
there that I loved. Loving them through the situation. I think sometimes people are
afraid to see their doctor or to talk about their problems because they’re afraid they’ll be judged or they won’t be understood. Tell me more about that, because
that just sounds wonderful. If I was a patient, it sounds great. Right, right, well, it’s very scary, and even when people are
coming to me for visits regarding prevention or they
don’t even have a problem or they’ve been sent to me
because of some abnormality their primary found, we
don’t even have a problem, big problem to talk about,
there’s a lot of anxiety related to the heart for obvious reasons. It’s an immediately life-threatening thing if you have a heart problem. So I don’t know, it’s a big deal and anytime there’s high
stakes, there’s high reward, and that’s the thing with heart disease and cardiovascular care, it doesn’t always translate with patients, but I just do my best
to help them feel safe, to talk to me. If they don’t like the medicines or they don’t want to take the medicines or they don’t want the
therapy I’m recommending, I want them to at least feel safe, that I’m not there to boss them around or tell them what to do. I’m there to explain
to them their options, the problems, the reasons
I’m recommending something, the guidelines and
scientific basis for it, and let them know that my
job is not to push anything. It’s to be an advocate for
them, to explain to them why they might choose
one thing or the other. Ultimately, it’s their
life and their health, and also to empower them. Even if they want to get better, if they don’t feel empowered
to make the decisions, so it’s my job too to inspire
people to make good choices, to get up everyday, take their pills, or to follow through with recommendations. It’s the art of medicine. There’s so much more to
medicine than just prescriptions and the science, a lot of it’s the art. And I don’t know, I think
my personal experience, having grown up with a sick mother and coming from a more
simple background like that, I think that translates
into the day to day interactions with patients. I have to say, now I don’t
want a heart condition, but I would love to be
one of your patients. What can you recommend? What’s your biggest piece of
advice to women out there? The good news, the big deal is that heart disease is so preventable. And even if you do have
it or you do get it, it’s so manageable. I would encourage women to
put themselves as a priority, to make sure that they’re, day to day, years, years, years, you know, you or I, God willing, we may
never have heart disease and years from now when we do, we could right now as young people make decisions to put ourselves
first to minimize our risk. If we do, years from now, have
it, we can make the decisions to everyday get up and try our best to put our health as a priority. It’ll help with our heart disease and all other health aspects. Women just need to understand
that it’s something they can control and they
just need to everyday make that choice to love themselves enough that they put themselves first. Every person in their life,
the people that you care for in your family, under your
roof, in your workplace, will do better because you
have taken care of yourself. Women need to understand that,
that’s my recommendation. That will translate into
all aspects of life, including into the cardiovascular health. That’s wonderful, I’m inspired. I’m gonna have a big
salad for dinner tonight. I’m gonna do the right thing.
Go for a walk. Go for a walk with my family. That’s all the time we have today, but if you would like more information on women and heart health, Dr. Babare, or heart services at Blake Medical Center, please visit us at blakemedicalcenter.com and click on the Healthy Living talk show. While you’re there, you can
also send me your comments, suggest a topic for an upcoming show, or just let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you. I’m Melissa Morgan wishing
you healthy living. (uplifting guitar)

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