Nurse Sharon Johnson keeps a close watch on heart monitors at the cardiac wing of Woodland Heights Hospital. Perhaps her diligence can be attributed to a chest pain she'll never forget. She recalled, " I ended up in the hospital and having by pass surgery the next Monday, so that was 17 years ago. I just had my anniversary on February 5th."
Johnson is among the thousands of women treated by cardiologists. She doesn't intend to join the half million women in the U.S. who die from cardiovascular disease. Leading Lufkin cardiologist Dr. Ravinder Bachireddy said, " We have not decreased the mortality rate in the last 20 years in women."
Education programs provide useful guidelines for heart disease prevention. Women learn more exercise, less weight, and a healthy diet can prevent heart disease, not just a little bit, but a lot. Bachireddy said, " If you make lifestyle changes you can decrease the mortality rate from cardiovascular disease by 50%, so that's why it's so important." This week the American heart association came out with guidelines for heart disease prevention.
Johnson is reminded everyday the importance of taking care of herself. Many of her patients are women. Of the patients she was watching that day, 21 out of 33 were women. " This screen right here looks like it's all women, no there's one man," she said.