February 28, I participated in the exciting Go Red for Women event sponsored by American Heart Association in New York City. It was quite exhilarating to be one of the women in red and be part of the energy and enthusiasm in support of women’s health. I felt buoyant when speaking to others during the networking time. The idea behind this national campaign is to raise awareness regarding Heart Disease among women. American Heart Association is a great resource for both men and women.
The theme of the panel discussion prior to the luncheon was communication with your health care provider. Here are several take aways which stand out.
- As Joe Friday on Dragnet said, “just the facts.” Tell your story. Don’t try to make a diagnosis. Be objective about your symptoms and give the facts.
- Know all your medications. This means the name, the dosage and how often you take the medication. Keep a running list of all medications and supplements. Addendum from Dina, whenever there is a change, update the list, and set a date each month, for example the 1st or 15th, to review your list to ensure it is up to date. You can keep a list on your computer and then print it out whenever there is a change so that you can carry it in your wallet or purse.
- Don’t underestimate the effects of depression and anxiety on your personal health. These are predisposing risk factors for Heart Disease. At the same time don’t dismiss your symptoms as stress, or the result of stress. Studies have shown that when women associate their symptoms with stress they are less likely to get a cardiac work up than men are. As in tip #1, state what’s going on objectively.
- It is a good idea to bring someone with you. A support team is important when recovering and living with heart disease. Bringing another person adds not only the extra pair of ears, but additional perspective and perhaps someone who can take notes as well as keep you on track with your questions.
- from Dina, if you have a concern when you go to the doctor, clarify it to yourself beforehand. Let your doctor or other health care provider know early on in your visit, in a succinct way, what your concern is. This way the concern or question can be addressed more quickly and it may even provide direction for the visit.
The more you know the more empowered you can be. February 28th Go Red for Women was an exciting day. It is good to know that awareness is increasing and thus helping women to survive longer, be healthier and go on to have lives of well-being.
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