Heart Plus campaign targets women

Awareness: Hospital's program seeks to teach the symptoms and risks of heart disease in women.

October 24, 2004|By Kevin T. McVey | Kevin T. McVey,SUN STAFF

The Upper Chesapeake Cardiovascular Institute launched a heart disease awareness campaign yesterday to alert women of Harford County to the dangers of heart disease.

Women's Heart Plus, a program intended to raise awareness of the risks and symptoms of heart disease in women, came about after women in Harford County were surveyed about their knowledge of heart disease and the institute realized how many were uninformed on the subject, said Kim Lovett, spokeswoman for Upper Chesapeake Health System.

"The survey was specifically to see what women knew, and we found out what was lacking in Harford County women was the fact that women were not talking to their doctors about it because they weren't aware of the symptoms," Lovett said.

The survey polled 402 Harford County women between the ages of 35 and 70. The results gave mixed impressions of their awareness of heart disease.

When asked how likely they believed they were of having a heart attack sometime during their lifetime, more than 50 percent of the women responded "very likely" or "somewhat likely." When asked whether they kept up to date on the latest news in women's health, 73.4 percent believed that they did.

But only 29.2 percent of the women said they had spoken with their doctors about the symptoms and risk factors of heart disease. Heart disease occurs in both men and women, but the emphasis on education is directed toward women because symptoms in men are more recognizable.

"We surveyed women who were unaware of the symptoms and even when they should tell a doctor about it," Lovett said. "There is a conflict [between] what women think are symptoms and what really are the symptoms of heart disease."

The classic symptoms of heart disease are squeezing chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, sweating and tightness in the chest. But these symptoms are more common in men than in women.

Women can have these symptoms, but more often they might experience dizziness, nausea, indigestion and vomiting, along with a sudden unexplained weakness or fatigue and even a sense of impending doom. The discomfort women tend to experience as symptoms of heart disease are pain between the shoulder blades or back pain.

Flu shot clinics

Upper Chesapeake Health System will offer flu shot clinics throughout Harford County in November. However, there are changes because of the shortage of flu vaccines and the recommendations regarding the distribution of the vaccine set by the Centers for Disease Control and local and state health departments.

The cost is $10, which must be paid in cash. Priority groups have been established for vaccination and those people who fall into these groups are urged to receive the vaccine first at the clinics if their primary health care provider does not have access to a vaccine. These groups are all children ages 6 months to 23 months; adults 65 years of age and older; all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season; residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; children six months to 18 years old who are on chronic aspiriin therapy; health care workers with direct patient contact; and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months.

Healthy residents between the ages of 5 and 49 are recommended to receive the nasal version of the vaccine. Beginning Nov. 1, clinics will be held in Bel Air for flu vaccinations:

Harford Mall, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 1; 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 14.

Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 6 and 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 17. A pediatric flu clinic for children ages 6 months to 11 years will be offered at Upper Chesapeake from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 13.

In Aberdeen, Klein's at Beards Mill Plaza will be the site of a clinic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 2.

In Havre de Grace, Harford Memorial Hospital flu clinics will be open from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 11 and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 20.

In Joppatowne, Holy Spirit Church will offer a clinic from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 12.

In Hickory, St. Ignatius Church will be the site of a clinic from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 16.

In Jarrettsville, a flu clinic will be offered from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company. In Pylesville, a flu clinic will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 28 at St. Mary's Church.

Currently, the only change is the removal of a follow-up clinic originally scheduled for Dec. 11.

Flu is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It attacks the nose, lungs and throat in humans, and its symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

People usually recover from the flu within two weeks, but complications can develop, including pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. People more susceptible to the flu are men and women over 50 with chronic medical conditions; residents of nursing homes; adults and children older than 6 months with asthma; women who are more than three months' pregnant; and people who have weakened immune systems.

Information: 800-515-0044.

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