Brookdale helping women fight heart disease

Many women don’t realize that as they age they become more likely to develop heart disease. To combat this problem, teams from Brookdale senior living communities in the area are fanning out to personally alert women age 65 and older to their increased risk and provide resources to fight it. The local effort is part of a nationwide Brookdale initiative named “10,000 Heart to Hearts” which seeks to reach 10,000 senior women across the country. The 10,000 Heart to Hearts program begins Feb. 1 at the start of American Heart Month.

“Cardiac disease kills more women than all cancers combined but a lot of older women don’t realize how dangerous it is,” said Kevin O’Neil, M.D., F.A.C.P, chief medical officer for Brookdale. “On average, women develop heart disease 10 years later than men do, with their first heart attack occurring at the age of 70.”

This cardiac disease risk begins rising during menopause, when the body reduces production of estrogen, a hormone believed to benefit the arteries. By their 70s, most women have high blood pressure.

“Aging makes it harder to cope with the impact of cardiac disease,” said Dr. O’Neil. “Three-quarters of senior women who survive heart attacks are not able to resume their normal lives. However, women can dramatically reduce their cardiac risk regardless of their age by embracing healthy habits.”

He noted that a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology shows lifestyle changes can reduce a woman’s likelihood of heart disease by 90 percent.

Through the “10,000 Heart to Hearts” initiative, professionals with the Brookdale communities will visit local senior women in their homes to explain the risk, check their blood pressure, discuss measures for healthier lifestyles, provide Brookdale’s heart-healthy cookbook and connect them with resources. There is no charge for the visits.

“Our goal is to have a candid, heart-to-heart discussion with each woman about the importance of the issue and help them take the steps needed to address it,” said Courtenay Meyer, Brookdale Gig Harbor
And Brookdale Harbor Bay.

To schedule a “10,000 Heart to Hearts” visit, call toll-free 1-866-869-7711.