Women Get Heart Smart at Annual Symposium

Northwestern Medicine
News February 20, 2012
Heart Smart WomenMore than 130 women came together for the 2012 Heart Health: What Smart Women Need to Know symposium on February 3 to learn how to live heart healthy and be proactive about their health. Participants heard from 12 Northwestern Memorial Hospital experts who spoke on topics related to heart disease prevention, awareness and risk education. 

Among the speakers who offered real-world advice and innovative strategies that busy women can put into practice during their everyday lives, was Clyde Yancy, MD, Associate Director of Northwestern Memorial's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.  Yancy opened the event with a key takeaway message – "move more and eat less for better heart health."

The program, which took place on National Wear Red Day, offered a variety of learning opportunities for women, including a  physician/patient dialogue role play led by event co-chairs, Marla Mendelson, MD, medical director of the Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Health at Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and Vera Rigolin, MD, associate medical director of the center.  The exercise focused on the importance of being your own health advocate and creating open and ongoing communication with your physician.

Other program highlights included exercise and cooking demonstrations, as well as information about stress management and strategies to help women live a healthier lifestyle.  For those who were unable to attend, copies of the materials provided at the symposium, including recipes and speaker handouts, can be obtained from the Health Learning Center. Contact Abbey Lichten via email at alichte1@nmh.org or call 312.926.LINK for more information.

For more information about heart health, visit the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and review the following recommendations from the American Heart Association.

Heart Guidelines at a Glance
  • Eat Heart-Healthy
    • Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables including whole-grain and high-fiber foods.
    • Eat fish at least twice a week, preferably oily fish, or talk to your health care provider about taking omega-3 fatty acid (fish oil) supplements.
    • Reduce your salt intake (sodium). Try to limit your sodium to 1500 mg a day.
    • Avoid trans-fatty acids. No trans-fats is the goal.
    • Eat very little saturated fat (such as fat from meat, cheese, and butter): less than 7% of your total calories a day.
    • Eat less than 150 mg of cholesterol a day.
    • Drink no more than one alcoholic drink a day.
  • Exercise and Weight Loss
    • Get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week, such as brisk walking. If you are trying to lose weight, then aim for 60 to 90 minutes a day.
  • Stop Smoking
    • Get counseling, nicotine replacement, or drug therapy (if needed) and find a group program to help you stop smoking.
  • Talk to your health care provider to learn more
    • Your health care provider may want your LDL to be less than 70 mg/dL if you have several risk factors.
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