Heart Health – What Women need to Know

With most of the research into heart disease focused on men, how heart disease affects women is not nearly so well known, even though more women die of cardiovascular disease than men. In 1998, a study by the National Center of Health Statistics revealed that 46% of women perceived their most serious health threat as breast cancer and only 4% indicated they believed heart disease was the most serious threat. In fact, at that time the real incidence of heart disease in women was 36% and breast cancer was 4%. Hopefully, women are better informed now.

We’ve known for a long time that there are none of us who escape an increased risk of heart disease as we get older. It’s also fairly common knowledge that smoking, a high-fat diet, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of heart disease and an inactive lifestyle raise anyone’s risk at any age. Since 1998, we’ve learned more about how the risks for heart disease change during a woman’s lifetime and how symptoms of a heart attack can differ from what most men experience. We now know that women who have not yet experienced menopause seem to enjoy some unique risk-lowering benefits as a result of estrogen and that these benefits are lost with menopause.

At about the age of 50, the age when natural menopause often begins, a woman’s risk for heart disease increases dramatically. (The same rise in risk applies to younger women who undergo early or surgical menopause and don’t take estrogen.) In addition to changes in estrogen, the effects of aging usually affect heart health. Blood pressure may rise with menopause. Cholesterol levels may change. Certain types of fat in the blood may increase. Unknown factors are also likely to be at work. More research focused on heart disease in women suggests that these factors may be better understood in the future.

Meanwhile, we need to adopt practices that lower the risk of heart disease while also learning more about how to identify heart attack symptoms. For example, both men and women may have a tightness, squeezing, pressure or pain in the chest, shortness of breath, sweating, or pain that spreads to shoulders, neck, arm or jaw. They may also have a feeling of heartburn without indigestion, nausea or vomiting, as well as sudden dizziness or a brief loss of consciousness.

According to the American Heart Association, women also report experiencing an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that can last more than a few minutes, goes away and comes back. They can feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach, as well as shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Some women report a sense of impending doom.

Because heart attack symptoms in women may be misinterpreted, women are more likely to die from their first heart attack. Rather than reporting a crushing pain in the chest, as men often describe a heart attack, women may feel pain under the breastbone. They may report indigestion, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, nausea or unexplained fatigue. If they are elderly or have diseases such as arthritis or diabetes, these symptoms may be incorrectly attributed to another cause or disease, delaying medical intervention.

If you experience symptoms of a heart attack, the first step is to accept that you may be having one. Denial can be deadly. Dial 911 for an ambulance. A patient being transported in an ambulance will begin receiving life-saving medical treatment while en route to the hospital. Only ambulances with medical personnel are equipped to revive a patient if her heart suddenly stops beating.

To lower your risk of a second heart attack, participate in both inpatient and outpatient heart rehabilitation programs. Inpatient rehabilitation should include comprehensive daily medical management by a board-certified rehabilitation specialist and rehabilitation nursing focused on development of self-management skills. Medical management should include respiratory care and wound care if surgery was performed. Every heart patient should receive individualized rehabilitation, including one-to-one therapeutic exercise and functional retraining by an interdisciplinary team. These therapies should include a program that addresses gait and mobility, training in how to safely accomplish activities of daily living, and nutritional instruction and counseling.

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Talley named Medical Director of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana

Talley named Medical Director

Daniel Talley recently was named Medical Director of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, a 40-bed freestanding facility providing long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious illnesses or injuries. It is the only long-term acute care hospital serving Montana and surrounding states.

Talley possesses more than 20 years of healthcare experience with certifications in critical care, pulmonary medicine, internal medicine and sleep disorders. Prior to joining Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, he served in various medical and leadership roles in hospitals throughout the states of Washington and Wisconsin. He is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the Christian Medical and Dental Association.

Talley earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Washington in Seattle, and a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. He completed an internal medicine residency at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, and a transitional residency program at Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane, Wash. His post-graduate education also includes sleep disorders medicine at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee, and pulmonary/critical care medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.


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Powers named CEO of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana

Judi Powers, our new Chief Executive Officer

Judi Powers has been named Chief Executive Officer of Advanced Care Hospital of Montana located in Billings, Mont. The hospital is a 40-bed, free-standing facility providing long-term acute care and critical care services for patients recovering from serious illnesses or injuries. It is the only long-term acute care hospital serving Montana and surrounding states.

Powers possesses more than 26 years of healthcare experience, having held various clinical and operational leadership roles at hospitals in Arizona and Montana. She also has provided consulting services for numerous organizations to include strategic planning, leadership training, project management, software implementation, and process improvement support. She joined Advanced Care Hospital of Montana, which is a part of Ernest Health, more than 5 years ago as its marketing and business development director. For the past three years, she served in a regional support role for Ernest Health.

Powers earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Montana State University and a master’s degree in organizational management from the University of Phoenix. She is involved in the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army, member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, and outside member on the Northern Rural Electric-Cooperative Benefits Association board of directors.

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