Luncheon Focused on Women’s Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women and men in the United States, claiming 1 out of 3 lives.

More than 175 people attended the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Women’s Heart Health Education Committee’s “Heart of Women’s Health” luncheon, focused on women and heart disease at Skyline Country Club in Tucson on Nov. 3, 2017. Here are some take-away points:

Elizabeth Juneman, MD, discussed the heart-disease screenings women should begin at age 20, including monitoring weight and body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, glucose levels and review of lifestyle factors, such as smoking, physical activity and nutrition. Unfortunately, too many women postpone visits to their doctors out of fear that they’ll be lectured about the need to change lifestyle or lose weight. Read more from Dr. Juneman on Women and Heart Disease

Khadijah Breathett, MD, MS, Sarver Heart Center’s newest faculty member, highlighted gender and racial disparities in health care. Although heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, African American women and men are at higher risk than their white and Hispanic counterparts. Across the board, about 80 percent of people are aware of their high blood pressure; however, about three–fourths are being treated in white and African-American populations (less than 70 percent in the Hispanic population); and less than 50 percent of African American and Hispanic populations have blood pressure under control. While white people fare a little better, only 56 percent have their blood pressure under control.

Some of the disparities in heart disease diagnosis and treatment are likely due to lower socioeconomic position, being underinsured, distrust in the health-care system, less involvement in clinical studies and health-care system biases. This results in less knowledge of treatment options for African Americans.

Dr. Breathett also noted lifestyle changes that will help reduce heart disease risks and make treatments more effective: no smoking, exercise moderately (at least 30 minutes most days), eat nutritious food in controlled portions, know your numbers, take medications as prescribed, take ownership of your health and ask your physician questions. For more heart-health information, visit the Heart Health webpages.

Thank you to the UA Sarver Heart Center Women’s Heart Health Education Committee for supporting the Heart of Women’s Health education program with their time and community connections.

Thank you to our Title Sponsors: Desert Toyota of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power; “Healing Heart” Sponsor – the Sarver Heart Center Minority Outreach Committee; “Heart Healthy” Sponsors - the E.W. Scripps Company and Bob and Beverely Elliott. Thanks also to TRICO Electric Cooperative.

If you would like to sponsor next year’s program on women and heart disease, please send an email to heart@u.arizona.edu. We’ll let you know our plans as they develop!

See photos in the Photo Gallery.