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Medical Professionals Answer Heart Health Questions at Go Red for Women


2012 Go Red
Dr. Cass Cullis; Sue Hoying, Certified Nurse Practitioner; and Dr. William Czajka answer heart health questions at the third Go Red for Women/North Health and Wellness Expo held at Edison Community College.

Basic cardiac health for women can be as simple as the ABCs with a D added, those attending the third Go Red for Women/North Health and Wellness Expo heard Sept. 8.


Among activities at the event held at Edison Community College was an Ask the Doctor cardiology panel comprised of Cass Cullis, MD; William Czajka, MD; and Susan Hoying, Certified Nurse Practitioner, of UVMC/Upper Valley Cardiology.

Hoying commented that a recent American Heart Association article did a good job of using the ABCs to provide a reminder of things to remember with heart health.

The A is for aspirin for high risk people. “You can talk with your physician about that. We love aspirin and encourage patients to be on aspirin because they have heart disease,” she said. B is for blood pressure, C is for cholesterol and D is for diet.

“Knowing your numbers for blood pressure and cholesterol are keys, and a good diet can help improve many heart disease issues,” Hoying stressed.

Talking with one’s doctor about whether to take aspirin is important, the doctors said, because of aspirin’s blood thinning effect. That effect makes aspirin useful in treating coronary and vascular disease.

Historically, it was recommended people in general take an aspirin every morning, but that no longer is the case, Dr. Czajka said.

“There are definite indications to take aspirin, but there is a risk of bleeding so you have to meet definite criteria to make a recommendation,” Dr. Cullis said.

The thinking also has changed when it comes to blood pressure and hypertension, Dr. Czajka said. An acceptable blood pressure today can be 140/90 with the best time to take the blood pressure shortly after getting up in the morning, he said.

The signs of heart trouble may be different in men and women.  Hoying said women are more likely to complain of pain in the shoulder blades and being tired and more short of breath than in the past.  “We see a wide range of symptoms they say point to heart disease. We have to take all of them seriously,” she said.

The care providers also were questioned about exercise and how much is needed.

“Exercise as much as you can.  Stay on the move” whether running, walking, doing housework or yard work, Dr. Czajka said.

Dr. Cullis said a rule of thumb would be 30 minutes of exercise daily at a vigorous pace for walking, running and jogging, if physically possible.

For many people weight and diet are an issue, Hoying said. She didn’t point to any particular diet.  “We all know it should be more fruits and vegetables, lean meats, watch sodium intake,” she said.

For further information, contact Upper Valley Cardiology at 335-3518 or 332-6971, or log on to www.UVMC.com.

Content Updated: December 1, 2014

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