*Dr. Jacqueline Eubany, a California-based, board-certified cardiologist, is on a mission to help save women from becoming a statistic to America’s #1 killer of women — heart disease.
In fact, Dr. Eubany is so passionate about helping women with their heart health that she has made it her life’s mission and penned her debut book, “Women and Heart Disease: The Real Story,” which received a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.
“I don’t think you’re ever too young to start thinking about your heart health. The earlier you start eating a heart healthy lifestyle, the better. It’s never too early to eat healthy, exercise, maintain healthy weight, quit smoking, drink moderate amounts of alcohol and checking your blood pressure,” says Dr. Eubany. “Studies show around menopause and older heart attacks usually happen.”
Silence is one of the most deadly aspects of women’s heart disease, and the seasoned cardiologist mentions that in her informative book. The easy to understand book is packed with invaluable heart health advice, tips to help women reduce their risk of developing heart disease, real life examples, and lifestyle habits that can be adopted to prevent heart disease. The book is a must read for all women, of all ages.
Heart disease is a serious matter and women across America should immediately take steps to lower their risks. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (47%) have at least one of these three risk factors. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” studies now indicate that the numbers have narrowed between women and men dying each year of heart disease in the United States. However, more women than men die of heart disease each year. Nearly 44 percent of African American men and 48 percent of African American women have some form of cardiovascular disease that includes heart disease and stroke. Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for African-American women, killing over 48,000 annually states the American Heart Association.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Women Heart, more than 42 million women are currently living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death of American women, killing more than a third of them. CDC also states that more than 200,000 women die each year from heart attacks – five times as many women as breast cancer. The National Vital Statistics Report 2016, reports heart disease killed 289,758 women in 2013 — that’s about 1 in every 4 female deaths.
Dr. Eubany explains that she stumbled upon the profession by chance. She originally went to medical school for OB/GYN and after she got there, she became interested in heart disease. She conducted research, obtained speaking engagements on heart disease, and learned that women were more affected and having more complications from heart disease. She is also an electrophysiologist, author and speaker currently practicing in Orange County, California. Dr. Eubany attended the University of California Riverside for her undergraduate studies, followed by Boston University School of Medicine. She later joined the United States Navy to complete her medical training and served for 12 years. Dr. Eubany was inducted as a fellow in the prestigious American College of Cardiology and in the Heart Rhythm Society. She also serves on several other distinguished societies and advisory boards related to heart disease. This history lover is an avid traveler and has visited more than 50 countries. She makes sure she practices what she preaches by staying active. She enjoys scuba diving, horseback riding, and biking.
“We all know it’s the #1 disease that kills women in the United States. As a cardiologist, I’m seeing patients’ one-at- a-time and the way to reach masses and get exposure is to write a book. The purpose is to reach many women to educate them about the heart and their risk factors and letting them know if they control their risk factors, they can reduce chances of getting heart disease by up to 80 percent,” she says. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54 percent of women recognize that heart disease is their number one killer, according to CDC.
So, what exactly is a heart attack and what does it entail? “A heart attack happens when the arteries supplying your heart with nutrients and oxygen gets blocked. When this happens, you have tissue death in the heart and so the heart is unable to perform its normal functions. And, its normal function is pumping blood to the rest of the body to supply it with the nutrients and oxygen that the rest of the tissue needs. So, when you heart tissue dies, your heart is unable to perform its normal function and this leads to a lot of symptoms that can be very debilitating like shortness of breath, not being able to sleep and those kinds of things,” she explains.
According to Dr. Eubany, recent studies show that heart disease kills more women than breast and lung cancer combined. Often times, women do not think about their heart until they have an issue or it is too late. “Men can recognize heart problems much earlier than women and get treated much earlier than women. Women on the other hand, get diagnosed much later than men and they sustain more damage to their heart and therefore, more debilitated,” says Dr. Eubany.
She adds, “I want them to be aware of the disease and know their risk factors for heart disease. If they know the risk factors, they can reduce it by 80 percent. Your lifestyle is so important in terms of developing a healthy heart style. Stress, being overweight, high blood pressure, and smoking are all factors that contribute to heart disease.” According to Dr. Eubany, cigarette smoking is the number #1 risk factor for developing a heart attack and women who smoke have 25 percent higher incidents than men do.
Dr. Eubany says some of the classic symptoms that women should be aware of include pressure in the left side of the chest, sweating, and shortness of breath. She says less than 50 percent have these symptoms, which makes it hard for women to know they have heart disease. Other symptoms include sharp pain in the left arm, nausea and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. Some basic preventive tests to determine if you are at risk includes blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Also, measure your waist circumference. If your waist is larger than 35 inches that increases your risk for heart disease.
“A heart healthy diet can help increase your chance of a healthy heart. A diet low in saturated fats, using olive oil or canola oil, eating salmon and fish, and a low salt diet (no more than one teaspoon per day) is good. The Mediterranean Diet has shown to decrease your risk of heart disease,” she says. ” Not getting enough sleep and stress also adds to the problem. Stress can put you over the edge if you are high risk and cause you to have a heart attack.”
It is extremely important that you know your risk factors and take care of any medical conditions that you have, so you can live a long, healthy and productive life. Heart disease is almost always preventable and reversible if caught early, according to Dr. Eubany. Federal dietary guidelines recommend a healthy eating pattern that features fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and fish, and that limits added sugars, sodium and saturated fats.
“Go see your doctor once or twice a year to be checked for hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. Those three increase your risk significantly for having a heart attack. Once you are diagnosed with one or all three of those medical conditions, you must take care of these medical conditions. You must get your blood pressure under control, your blood sugar under control and your cholesterol under control, so you can prevent a heart attack from happening,” says Dr. Eubany.
After all, your health is your wealth.
To book her for speaking engagements, visit her website.
EURweb associate journalist Angela P. Moore is based in the Atlanta area. A passionate writer-and-photographer-at-heart, she freelances for local and national magazines. She pens articles on celebrity profiles, art & music, business, travel, entertainment, health, self-help, and consumer-related issues. She is also the founder and owner of APM Public Relations. In the realization of her life-long passion for writing, Angela will release her debut book in July 2017. She can be reached via [email protected].