Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, but one local cardiologist said very few women realize the threat that it poses to them.
"Everybody thinks cancer is the No. 1 killer," said Dr. Mindy Gentry, a cardiologist at the Medical College of Georgia Health Cardiovascular Center. "Women tend to significantly underestimate their risk of dying of heart disease."
Nearly 500,000 women die each year from cardiovascular disease, Gentry said. That number is nearly twice as high as the number of women who die of all cancers combined.
To bring awareness to the risk factors of cardiovascular disease, MCG Health will sponsor a free "Women and Heart Disease" event Saturday at the Holiday Inn West at Interstate 20 near the old Cracker Barrel. Two informal information sessions will be held -- one from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and another from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Gentry will give a brief presentation during the event, with an opportunity for questions and answers. After the presentation, attendees are invited to participate in free health screenings, including cholesterol checks, diabetes screenings and body mass index and blood pressure checks.
"With heart disease, there is a preventive element," Gentry said, adding that factors such as weight, blood pressure and diabetes all play a role in cardiovascular disease. "Over the course of the last 20 years, heart disease has been increasing in men and women. While that number is now starting to decrease for men, it continues to increase for women."
Women 55 and younger are at a greater risk of developing heart disease and should be informed of how to prevent it, Gentry said.
For information, call (706) 721-4997.
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