Heart Failure Patient Offers Words of Wisdom at Sentara Red Dress Luncheon

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Provided by Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the #1 cause of death in the United States. That’s why Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and Sentara Heart & Vascular Center hosted the fourth annual Red Dress Luncheon to benefit the American Heart Association.

On Friday, Feb. 28, guests gathered at the Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge to enjoy an afternoon of information, food and fun. To commemorate the occasion, the crowd dressed in red in support of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign. This year’s keynote speaker was Monique Acosta House. Monique knows how true the statistics are. At the age of 22, she was diagnosed with heart failure. In July 2017, she received a heart transplant.

Monique’s advice is simple. “Treat your body like your best friend. I treat my heart like my best friend [and]I do everything my physician tells me to do. I know my numbers – my cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose and BMI. Having a new heart has changed my life. It has changed my perspective. How could it not?”

In addition to hearing Monique’s inspiring story, guests took part in a physician question and answer panel. The panel answered questions and educated the audience on heart health and the preventive measures they can take now which will make a difference in the future.

“We’re so happy to host this event for our community,” said Kathie Johnson, President, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, “Not only is it informative, it’s interesting and it could save lives.”

Mrs. Johnson served as the event’s emcee and presented the American Heart Association with a check for $1,560.

Cardiologists reminded the group it’s important to take charge of their lives and their heart health. We don’t have control over some factors like heredity, race, and sex. We do have control over our diet, activity level and deciding whether we smoke or drink. Making healthy changes into a habit can make all the difference in the world.

 Healthy habits include:

  • Be active
  • Control cholesterol
  • Eat better
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Maintain a healthy weight/BMI
  • Reduce blood sugar
  • Stop smoking

According to the American Heart Association, women should know the symptoms of a heart attack, which include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

A simple test may predict heart disease before symptoms start. Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring is a non-invasive CT scan of the heart. It is recommended for people who currently do not have any symptoms, but have a moderate probability of having Coronary Artery Disease.

  • Recommended for men older than 40, women older than 50, people who are overweight, diabetic; or have a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure.
  • The exam takes 10-15 minutes. No preparation is required.Ask your primary care physician if this test is right for you. Insurance plans may not cover this screening. Once you have a physician referral, call 703-523-1560 to find out the cost and schedule your Coronary Artery Calcium Scoring test.

Visit Sentara’s 28daysofheart.com to learn more about risk factors, healthy tips and recipes. Discover your heart’s age, the answer might surprise you!

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