I hadn’t heard about Kansas University Hospital’s A Change of Heart program until I was invited to a brunch at Cedar Crest in spring 2010. Then-Gov. Mark Parkinson, and his wife, Stacy, wanted to roll out the program statewide.
At least 100 people attended, from lawmakers to health providers, and they were clad in red and talking heart health. At age 49, Shirley Allenbrand, of Lenexa, said the program had saved her life. I left the event motivated and ready to take the heart assessment myself, but soon forgot and never heard much about the initiative again.
Karin Morgan, program coordinator, said there were good intentions, but it failed due to costs.
In March, I received a press release that the A Change of Heart program had moved into a new women’s heart center on the first floor of the hospital. I was motivated again, yet nervous about what I might find out. That’s because I’ve had my cholesterol checked at my primary care doctor’s office and then received a notice in the mail that said my numbers were slightly elevated. Additionally, heart disease runs on my mother’s side of the family. My grandfather died of a heart attack.
Once I paid the $60 fee by credit card over the phone, I received information about my upcoming appointment and an online survey that needed to be filled out prior to my appointment. It asked questions ranging from fruit-and-vegetable consumption to sleep habits and took about 20 minutes to complete.
On the day of my appointment, I needed to fast after midnight. Once there, I filled out a little more paperwork, and then the testing began. I was client No. 927.
Sarah Sanders, a cardiovascular nurse clinician, measured my weight, waist, blood pressure and pulse, and then she took some blood from my finger. Within five minutes, they had my results.
Kathleen Dalton, advanced practice registered nurse, went over them with me. I’ve never had someone explain my numbers like she did. She was very thorough and understandable, and the good news was I had nothing to worry about. All of my numbers were optimal except my LDL , or bad, cholesterol which was slightly elevated. The optimal level is less than 100 milligrams per deciliter and the desired level is less than 130. Mine was 108.
The numbers included: BMI, waist circumference, blood pressure, pulse, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL and LDL cholesterol and glucose. For example, the desirable waist for women is 35 inches or less; for men, it’s 40 inches.
Dalton explained the risk factors that lead to heart disease, including diabetes, smoking, poor exercise, poor diet, age, medications and immediate family’s heart history. She also went over symptoms, and she put some of my fears to rest.
When she asked if I had any dizziness or irregular heart beats, I said, “Yes. Maybe?” Sometimes when I am on the treadmill, I feel light-headed. She said it’s probably dehydration. I also told her that when I lie down in bed for a night’s sleep, sometimes my heart is pounding. She said that’s normal and then explained what would be abnormal.
After the session with Dalton, I was offered a buffet of heart-healthy foods to pick from, and then I sat down with Morgan. As I ate a whole-wheat bagel with a tad of cream cheese and fruit, she talked about nutrition and exercise and then offered advice.
“Your BMI is perfect. Your waist is perfect. You’re already exercising. There’s not much you can do from here but maintain what you are doing,” she said. It was music to my ears. I strive to get at least an hour of exercise six days a week, mostly walking or bicycling. I also try to fit in weights and other exercises like sit-ups when I can.
I asked Morgan about healthy snacks to take to work, and she suggested fruit, yogurt, vegetables or a handful of nuts.
After exchanging personal stories about exercise and eating habits, she handed me a bagful of goodies to take home: a stack of brochures on everything from nutritious nibbles to eating out, a note pad and pen, a food journal, a waist measurement kit, a pedometer and a handbook on eating out. There also was a folder of information that included the results of my online survey and suggestions for improvement along with facts about heart disease. I also received a copy of my assessment results to share with my primary care doctor.
The 90-minute program gave me a sense of relief and reassurance that I was on the right track when it comes to heart health.
To read more about program and how it has evolved during the past five years, visit "How healthy is your heart? KU Hospital program provides screening for disease, steps to reduce risks."
How healthy is your heart? KU Hospital program provides screening for disease, steps to reduce risks
The program provides a heart assessment and one-on-one counseling on how to improve the factors that put people at risk for heart disease, which is America’s No. 1 killer.
“This program gives you the education and the tools to bring your numbers down,” said Karin Morgan, a registered nurse and program coordinator. “You can go just about anywhere and stick your finger and then you might get a card that says it’s normal. Well, what does that mean?”
Morgan said it’s the education component that doctors often don’t have the time to provide, and that’s where the program comes into play.
Since its inception, the program has screened about 930 people, mostly women. Of those, 90 percent have been identified as having at least one risk factor for heart disease. More than 75 percent had multiple factors.
“We’ve had women who have come here in the morning, and they were in the cath(eterization) lab the next day from heart disease,” Morgan said. “I think a lot of people don’t get their numbers checked because they are in denial or they don’t think anything is wrong or they go to the doctor occasionally.”
She said they’ve seen people who had no idea they had diabetes or high cholesterol levels. “A lot of people look at their BMI (Body Mass Index) and go, ‘Huh?’” Morgan said. “Many people are surprised at their risk levels.”
KU’s program costs $60, takes 90 minutes to complete and is available for anyone 18 and older.
“It’s personalized and same-day results,” Morgan said. She hopes to soon be able to offer scholarships to those who can’t afford it.
In December 2010, the program received an anonymous donation to start a Teacher Change of Heart program. The goal is for the teachers to take the education back into their classrooms with the hope that the students will share it with their families.
About 40 teachers participated in the program last year. Morgan hopes 100 will complete it this year. They want to reach out to adolescents because they are the group most likely to start smoking, which is a huge risk factor for heart disease. Additionally, obesity and diabetes are on the rise among children — two more risk factors.
Last August, Susan Mayberry, 47, a health and physical education teacher at Basehor-Linwood High School, completed the program. She said her family history puts her at risk for heart disease.
Mayberry said the heart assessment and education forced her to revisit the factors that put her at risk, and one of those factors was her poor diet. She said the main reasons for her unhealthy habits were vending machines at school, Sonic Drive-In on her way to and from work, and potato chips.
“They are easy. If you come home late from practice and you’re tired, you just eat the first thing that’s easy and you can grab,” she said.
According to the heart assessment, Mayberry was prone to have a heart episode within 10 years. “I was in the at-risk category,” she said.
The program’s nurses provided a lot of tips that she’s put into place, including taking snacks, such as nutritious grain bars or little bags of peanuts, to school. She also puts bran flakes and raisins into sandwich-size storage bags on Sunday night, so they are available when she gets home from work during the week. She might have a bag of the mix or a cup of yogurt.
“It’s something quick that I can have until I calm down and can think about having a meal. It’s about sitting down and eating instead of eating junk,” she said.
Mayberry said she’s shared her experience with students and has talked to the principal about purchasing target heart rate monitors. She plans to have a cardiologist come to speak during her classes and maybe even show some videos about heart disease. She said two other Basehor-Linwood High School teachers went through the program and their students have used pedometers and participated in a Wear Red Day to raise awareness about heart disease.
“My health kids are mostly ninth-graders and some 10th-graders, and they really do want to know about good choices of eating — far more than probably five years ago,” she said. “A lot of their grandparents and parents have had bypass surgeries, and we are talking 40-year-old parents.”
Now that Mayberry has made some changes in her diet, she would like to have a follow-up assessment to see if her numbers have improved. For now, the KU program is a one-time program, and the nurses encourage participants to follow up with a primary care doctor or cardiologist. But, Mayberry said that doesn’t hold her accountable.
“There’s not a safety net there to make sure that people follow through and go forward with it,” she said.
Morgan said the program was meant to be a one-time only screening and education program, but they took Mayberry’s comments to heart and are working on adding a one-time follow-up as part of the program. Morgan expects that to occur any day.
It will be just one of several changes that have been made to the program since its inception. In September 2010, they added a research component. If women agree to participate, they will receive a survey at one month, three months, six months and then every year for 20 years. The goal is to track how women are doing. She said participants can see results within four to six weeks if they are truly making changes.
In February, the program moved into an area on the first floor of KU Hospital called the Adelaide C. Ward Women’s Heart Health Center. The center was made possible through a donation from the Louis L. and Adelaide C. Ward Foundation.
“There’s no greater gift to give someone than a heart assessment,” said benefactor Addie Ward.
Because of the additional space, the program recently added a dietitian who is available by appointment to visit clients who go through the program. It also has a resource center.
COMING TUESDAY — Health reporter Karrey Britt went through the program March 29 and writes about her experience and the results of her assessment.
There will be a free workshop on heart health at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 29, at TherapyWorks, 1311 Wakarusa Drive, Suite 1000.
Dr. Michael Zabel, a Lawrence cardiologist, and Cindy Johnson, physical therapist and owner of TherapyWorks, will be the speakers. They will provide some statistics on heart-related issues and then talk about some simple steps that can be incorporated into everyday activities to improve heart health.
For more information, call TherapyWorks at 749-1300.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Board of Trustees approved Wednesday plans to open a cardiopulmonary laboratory to provide specialized testing for patients suffering shortness of breath because of a heart or lung problem.
The 1,200-square-foot lab is scheduled to open in October on the ground level of the Fourth Street Health Plaza, next to the anticoagulation clinic. Startup costs are estimated to be $235,000.
Dr. Charles Yockey, pulmonary specialist at LMH, said the lab will enable the hospital to test more patients who suffer from acute and chronic illnesses such as interstitial lung disease, asthma, heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, because there will be more space, equipment and staff.
LMH now has one technician and one piece of equipment to provide such testing in the respiratory department. In 2011, it provided 1,214 tests.
Yockey said testing can help provide a diagnosis as well as determine disability, progression of disease and effectiveness of therapy.
“National experts have felt for years that pulmonary function testing is horribly under utilized. Some estimate there are 14 million undiagnosed COPD patients in the U.S.,” he said. “If you can find them early, then maybe you can prevent progression and hospitalizations.”
In addition to taking care of more patients, LMH also will be able to provide testing that’s currently not available such as a metabolic stress test which involves exercising on a treadmill or stationary cycle while being closely monitored. It measures performance of the heart and lungs while under physical stress.
Karen Shumate, chief operating officer, said the hospital will be filling a service gap in the Lawrence area. “It will provide cardiopulmonary testing that is not currently available in the community that patients are having to go out of town for,” she said.
Yockey added that the need for such services is expected to increase as the population grows older. “Estimates are that by 2020, two out of three people will be in the hospital because of their lungs,” he said.
LMH estimates the lab will provide a net profit of $167,000 in 2013 and by 2017, it will grow 147 percent to $413,000. The hospital reinvests profits back into the hospital.
In Douglas County, LMH estimates there currently are:
• 2,300 — people diagnosed with emphysema.
• 7,000 — with chronic bronchitis.
• 14,600 — with asthma.
• 36,900 — with cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Charles Yockey, a pulmonary specialist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, will present a program about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. It will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 8 in LMH’s auditorium, 325 Maine.
He will discuss the challenges of difficulty in breathing and review strategies to decrease shortness of breath including smoking cessation, weight loss and exercise. He also will talk about the management of COPD exacerbation episodes including the recommended medications for symptom relief.
The program is free but advanced registration is requested and can be done by calling 749-5800 or visiting lmh.org.
On Valentine's Day, the state's health officer encourages you to take care of your heart.
Dr. Robert Moser also wants you to know the ABCS for preventing heart attack and strokes — the two leading causes of death for men and women.
• A — aspirin for people at risk.
• B — blood pressure control.
• C — cholesterol management.
• S — smoking cessation.
“Heart disease is largely preventable if you know your risks and how to lower them. Risk factors such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity, stress and diabetes are within your control and can be changed.”
— Dr. Robert Moser, also secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment
This fiscal year, Kansas received $608,003 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address heart disease.
KDHE supports the Million Hearts initiative — a national effort lead by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes during the next five years.
Million Hearts also encourages people to know their ABCS and to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting sodium consumption, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco and moderating alcohol intake.
To pledge your support, visit Million Hearts.
About 200 people attended the eighth annual Go Red For Women luncheon on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012, in the Kansas University Memorial Union ballroom. The event included a silent auction, exposition, luncheon and program.
The event raised awareness about heart disease — the No. 1 killer of women — and money for the American Heart Association.
Here are pictures from the event:
Many of my co-workers at The World Company sported red on Friday, which was national Wear Red Day, to raise awareness about heart disease — America's No. 1 killer — and to support the Go Red For Women campaign.
Way to go colleagues!
If you, your friends and/or co-workers participated in Wear Red Day, we encourage you to share photos of them on WellCommons by joining the "Healthy Body & Mind" group page. From there, click on new post and then upload the photos.
We'd also like to hear your personal stories about heart disease. If you post a story or photo, you'll also have a chance to join the WellCommons team at the Go Red for Women Luncheon, which is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Kansas Memorial Union Ballroom. Each ticket is worth $50. We’ll pick six winners at noon today.
For more information about the luncheon or to buy a ticket, visit www.lawrencegored.org. The funds generated by the event support research and education efforts in Lawrence.
KU Endowment employees were sporting red on Friday to raise awareness about heart disease — America's No. 1 killer.
Dr. Michael Zabel will be available Feb. 2 to discuss heart disease — America’s No. 1 killer — in recognition of American Heart Month.
Zabel, of Cardiovascular Specialists of Lawrence, will be participating in an online chat at 10 a.m. on WellCommons.com. And, you can submit your questions anonymously at anytime at WellCommons/chats. Make sure to log back to WellCommons.com during or after the chat to see if your questions were answered.
Zabel earned his medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 1988. He completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiology at Duke University Medical Center.
Zabel is a clinical associate professor at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine. He has done a variety of research on heart disease and treatments.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Hearts Fair will be from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 18.
The annual event — which typically draws about 500 people — will be held in the lower level of the hospital, 325 Maine.
Free health screenings will include blood pressure, Body Mass Index, waist circumference, and heart attack and stroke risk. It also offers a blood sugar screening by finger stick and participants should fast overnight.
There also will be exhibits with information about the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease including smoking cessation, nutrition, exercise, sleep apnea, and signs of heart attack, stroke and congestive heart failure.
The screenings and exhibits will be provided by LMH staff, other area health professionals and local nonprofit health agencies.
In addition, a full cholesterol screening will be available for $25. It’s $20 if registered by Feb. 10. To register, call the LMH lab at 505-6179.
Michelle Derusseau is a crusader.
Last February, she shared her personal experience of surviving a heart attack at age 39 with about 200 people attending the annual Go Red for Women luncheon in Lawrence.
She talked about how she ignored the early warning signs — fatigue, sweating, nausea — and didn’t seek help until she lost feeling in her left arm and it became an emergency. She was flown by helicopter ambulance from Lawrence Memorial Hospital to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City where two stents were implanted into her heart.
Since then, she’s changed her habits and never felt better. She gets more sleep, has become an exercise fanatic, and has cut fast food from her diet.
Derusseau, 48, has put her new heart healthy habits to use by becoming a champion for another cause — cancer.
“For the past 30 years, I’ve watched friends and family have cancer,” she said. “Many of them died after going through painful surgeries and procedures, and you just kind of stand by helplessly.”
About one year ago, a close aunt was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and six weeks later, she died.
Derusseau said her dad is a prostate cancer survivor and is currently undergoing treatment for skin cancer, and her stepmother is a two-time breast cancer survivor.
“The list just kind of goes on and on and on. It’s hard to find anyone anymore that doesn’t know somebody who has cancer,” she said.
Derusseau said she got tired of just standing by and decided to help raise money for the The Lance Armstrong Foundation, which helps anyone affected by cancer. It provides free resources and programs, and raises money for research.
In October, she participated in the foundation’s Livestrong Challenge, which was a 5K race and 90-mile bicycle ride in Austin. She raised $2,500 and got to tour the foundation’s headquarters.
“It was a very neat and inspiring weekend,” she said.
Derusseau decided to apply to become a Livestrong leader for Douglas County and she recently was accepted. As a leader, she will help educate residents about The Lance Armstrong Foundation and its Livestrong campaign.
“There’s a lot of people who have heard of Livestrong, but they don’t really understand what it is and what they do.”
She said the foundation’s goal is to not only improve the lives of people who have cancer, but everybody who is affected by the diagnosis including spouses, siblings and parents.
“It empowers people and it tries to show them that they have cancer but cancer doesn’t have them,” she said.
For more information about how to get involved or how to receive help, contact Derusseau at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit livestrong.org or call 855-220-7777.
It's National Wear Red Day!
It's part of the American Heart Association's campaign to raise awareness about heart disease — the No. 1 killer of women. It also kicks off American Heart Month.
The WellCommons team is sporting red — whether it be earrings, shoes, blouses, pins or ties — and we hope you are, too.
If you are participating in Wear Red Day, take photos of yourself, your friends and/or co-workers — all dressed in red — and share them on WellCommons by joining the "Go Red For Women — American Heart Association" group page. From there, click on new post and then upload the photos.
Have fun with it!
We'd also like to hear your personal stories about heart disease. If you post a story or photo, you'll also have a chance to join the WellCommons team at the Go Red for Women Luncheon, which is 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at Kansas Memorial Union Ballroom. Each ticket is worth $50. We’ll pick six winners at noon Monday, Feb. 6.
For more information about the luncheon or to buy a ticket, visit www.lawrencegored.org. The funds generated by the event support research and education efforts in Lawrence.
Here are a few pics from last year's contest:
A day before her 45th birthday, Cathy Porter suffered a massive heart attack while eating out with friends.
Doctors told her a blood clot had formed and it wasn’t allowing blood to flow from her heart. “It was very, very scary,” she said.
Five years later, Porter had open heart surgery to repair the damage caused by the heart attack.
Porter, now 57, of Overland Park, said when she had the heart attack in 1998, people didn’t talk about women and heart disease. At the time, she thought she had horrible indigestion although she had jaw and chest pain, cold sweat, dizziness, and pain between the shoulder blades.
“One of our friends said something to my husband and he called 911,” Porter said. “Otherwise, I would have let it go.”
That’s why she is an advocate for women and heart disease. In 2005, Porter founded a WomenHeart support group in Overland Park — the first in the Kansas City area. It’s associated with the national WomenHeart coalition, which has thousands of members.
“Hopefully, I can prevent one person from going through what I’ve gone through,” she said.
The group, which has about 20 members, meets monthly and rotates among the various hospitals in the Overland Park area. It has guest speakers, and more importantly, the members are there for one another.
“Regardless of how supportive your family is, sometimes you just really need to talk to someone who has gone through what you’ve gone through,” Porter said.
Kristen Seltman joined the group in 2008 after suffering three heart attacks at age 41. She described the members as her “heart sisters.”
“We are not a bunch of people who sit around and be negative, ‘Woe is me and my sad little life.’ It’s more about education — learning about the disease and how can we can live with it,” she said.
She said all of the women have different stories. One member was born with a heart problem. Another woman in her mid-50s was diagnosed at age 11 and has had two surgeries. One member had a heart transplant in May, and Seltman visited her often and took her to doctor’s appointments.
“When you stop being so self-focused and you are reaching out and helping other people, that helps too,” Seltman said. “It helps you heal and be emotionally better.”
Former members of the Overland Park support group have started their own groups in the areas of Blue Springs and Liberty, Mo., and another one is starting in the Midtown Kansas City area.
“I think it’s exciting because it just proves that we are reaching more women,” Porter said. “Hopefully, we will be able to add groups in surrounding communities.”
The support group also provides red scarves made by volunteers and gift bags with information for heart patients in 24 hospitals, including Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation department. They’ve given out 3,000 in the past four years.
“We just want to let women know that they are not alone in the journey,” Porter said.
HEART HEALTHY SUPPORT
The Overland Park WomenHeart support group meets the first Monday of each month at different hospitals. Anyone is welcome to attend.
The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. March 7 at Menorah Medical Center, 5721 W. 119th St. in Overland Park. The topic will be eating out healthy.
About 500 people attended the annual Healthy Hearts Fair on Saturday at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Most of the participants come back year after year because it provides a good health checkup at low- to no-cost, and more importantly, it’s a great way to catch up with friends.
Lou Bacco and his wife, Deanne, of Shawnee, along with their daughter Andrea Vieux, of Victoria, Texas, were among the participants. They previously lived in Lawrence.
“We’ve been coming for years,” Deanne said. “It’s fun to get the little blood results and then it gives us a chance to look at the exhibits and meet friends.”
Besides having her cholesterol checked, she also had a body fat analysis.
“No, thank you,” Deanne said about sharing the results. She said the percentage was in the healthy range, but higher than she expected.
The retired couple said exercise and a healthy diet are important to them. Lou is training for an indoor triathlon, and they practice yoga and walk about three miles every morning, among other activities.
The couple and their daughter were disappointed that the “grip test” wasn’t available at the fair. There’s a friendly competition among them, and mom usually wins.
“She’s got a strong grip, especially on the left,” Lou said, laughing.
Vieux enjoyed perusing The Merc’s booth, where she picked up a recipe for eggplant caviar. She said it’s difficult to find organic vegetables in Victoria, Texas, where she moved about a year ago.
Charlotte Sparkes, 70, and Bill Venner, 76, both of Lawrence, were enjoying muffins and yogurt during the fair. They’ve attended for the past 10 years. They get their blood checked, learn about new procedures, and see friends.
“It’s just nice to get out,” Sparkes said.
Venner laughed and said, “We get our year’s pen supply.”
They both walk as much as possible, and Sparkes does an hour of jazzercise five days a week. She tries to watch her diet, but laughed and said, “Chocolate and ice cream tend to sneak in regularly.”
Aynsley Anderson, LMH community education coordinator, said she sees a lot of familiar faces and some new ones. Most of the participants tend to be 40 and older.
“They also tend to be the ones who care about health and are healthier,” she said.
The fair offered seven screenings including blood sugar, Body Mass Index, peripheral artery disease risk, and varicose veins. About 350 people had their cholesterol checked through a blood test.
There were 21 educational booths, and the topics included nutrition, diabetes, CPR, smoking cessation, and echocardiograms.
“It’s just a great opportunity to talk to people in a nonstressful environment,” she said. “I received a lot of nutrition questions and some exercise questions. I teach stop smoking classes, so I got questions about stopping smoking.”
LMH’s annual health fair — which focuses on all aspects of health, not just heart disease — will be Sept. 24. It typically draws about 2,000 people.
Lawrence resident Michelle Derusseau suffered a heart attack at age 39, on April 15, 2003.
Now 47, she feels lucky to have survived without permanent heart damage because the symptoms were there, but she waited until they were severe before seeking treatment.
“I changed a lot after my heart attack,” she said.
She shared her life-changing experience during the seventh annual Go Red For Women Luncheon & Expo on Friday at The Oread hotel. About 200 people attended the event, which raised approximately $30,000 for the American Heart Association.
Before the heart attack, Derusseau said, she worked too much, slept too little, and ate too much fast food. She didn’t eat fruit or vegetables, but she did exercise regularly. She never suspected that she might have heart disease although she often was fatigued.
“It was springtime and the weather was beautiful, and I would go home and put on my pajamas and sit on the couch and go to bed immediately after dinner — that’s not normal. But I kept blaming it on things.”
About 36 hours before the attack, Derusseau thought she was suffering from the flu because she was sweating, dizzy and nauseated.
“It just knocked me out. I slept all day,” she said.
The next day, she felt a little better and went to work. But she left work early and returned home to sleep. Then she had a sharp pain between her shoulder blades, and later her left arm went numb. That’s when she decided to go to Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s emergency room. On the way, she said, there was a tightness in her jaw and neck.
Derusseau was flown by helicopter ambulance from LMH to St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., where two stents were implanted into her heart.
“When I got up to my room, I couldn’t believe how good I felt. I just didn’t realize how bad I had felt for so long,” she said.
She began eating healthier, adding more fruits, nuts, fish and salads to her diet. Now she eats out only about once a week.
She’s also an exercise nut. Last year she participated in 20 5K runs and completed her first triathlon in September — in 1 hour and 41 minutes, beating her goal by four minutes.
“I didn’t win any medals, but I got it done and that’s all I wanted to do,” she said.
She finished an indoor triathlon last month, and has registered for six more triathlons.
“I have a hard time taking that one rest day a week. When I don’t exercise on that one day, it makes me crazy,” she said.
Derusseau, business manager at O’Malley Beverage, said she’s cut back on work and gets more sleep.
“I feel great,” she said. “I am very fortunate considering how long I had put off getting treatment. Luckily, my heart healed.”
Note: Derusseau has a group called "With All My Heart" on WellCommons to raise awareness about heart disease. It's a place where people can share their stories and/or heart-health tips and, more importantly, encourage each other.
More importantly, it raised awareness about heart disease — American's No. 1 killer. Michelle Derusseau, 47, of Lawrence, shared her passionate story about heart disease. She suffered a heart attack at age 39. Since then, she has changed her diet and has become an exercise enthusiast. She completed her first triathlon in September.
Amy Gilliland, of Lawrence, is a member of the Go Red For Women committee in Lawrence. Her sister Kathy died at age 46 from a heart attack. Since then, she also has become an advocate for reducing stress and preventing heart disease.
Here are photos from today's event:
WellCommons will be hosting a couple of online chats about heart health in recognition of American Heart Month in February.
Thursday, Kirsten Flory, chairwoman of the Go Red For Women Luncheon & Expo in Lawrence, and Coeli Baker, development director for the American Heart Association, will be available to answer questions at 2 p.m.
They can offer heart health tips along with questions about the Feb. 11 luncheon and AHA.
On Feb. 9, Dr. Roger Dreiling, a cardiologist at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, will participate in a chat at 1 p.m. He can answer questions about heart disease — America’s No. 1 killer.
You can submit your questions at anytime at WellCommons.com/chats.
Make sure to log back to WellCommons.com either during or after the chat to see if your questions were answered.
Lisa Lillien, better known as Hungry Girl, will headline the sixth annual benefit for Kansas University Hospital’s women’s heart health program.
She is a New York Times best-selling author of four cookbooks and hosts her own show on The Cooking Channel. She’s also shared her trademark “tips and tricks for hungry chicks” on talk shows.
The benefit — Girls’ Night In — is from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, 2345 McGee St. in Kansas City, Mo. It begins with a cocktail reception, followed by tastings inspired by Lillien’s cookbooks. Lillien also will share heart health strategies.
KU’s “A Change of Heart” program brings women together to receive personalized heart health assessments, make lifestyle changes, and support each other in improving heart health.
The program was inspired by the fact that one of three women die from coronary vascular disease, yet only half of the women in our country are aware of this.
The hospital’s specially designed heart health assessment provides women with the tools they need to make lifestyle changes to improve their heart health and reverse these trends. Of the more than 700 women who have gone through the assessment, 89 percent have had one or more risk factors for heart disease.
Tickets are $100 each, and tables of 10 are $1,250. To make a reservation, call 913-588-8888, or e-mail email@example.com.
Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s Healthy Hearts Fair will be from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Feb. 12.
The annual event generally draws about 500 people. It is held in the lower level of the hospital, 325 Maine.
There will be exhibits about cardiovascular disease prevention and free screenings, including body fat, blood pressure and surveys to determine risk of heart attack and stroke.
Among the exhibitors will be The Community Mercantile, Health Care Access, Douglas County Fire & Medical, Personal Actions to Health class for older adults, Douglas County Visiting Nurses, Rehabilitation and Hospice Care, WellCommons, and Douglas County Community Health Improvement Partnership.
For $25, a full cholesterol screening will be offered. It’s $20 if registered by Feb. 4.
For more information or to sign up in advance, call the LMH lab at 505-6179 or visit www.lmh.org.
In an article by Karen Weintraub in Boston.com about how heart disease rates have fallen 66 percent since 1950, there's this, which demonstrates how improving health is a local issue:
White men saw a 65 percent drop since 1950; African-American men, just 50 percent. For black men in Mississippi, there have been no improvements at all in the last 30 years.
Besides personal behavior, other elements cited that affect heart disease rates include the "uneven quality of health care across the country", and the number of communities that still do not have or enforce smoking bans.
Today, take a walk!
Yep, you heard me. Take a break from your day’s work by putting on some comfortable shoes, and going for a walk. It will do your mind and body good.
You also will be taking part in the American Heart Association’s National Start Walking Day, which is designed to get businesses involved in wellness initiatives.
Trust me. I am not one to talk. Like most Americans, there are days when I barely escape my desk, and it’s my own doings. I often — OK, always — eat lunch at my desk unless there is a required lunch meeting. I consider a trip to a nearby coffee shop a break because I get a little fresh air and exercise.
But, I DO walk before or after work. I try to get four miles in each day, whether it be outdoors or on the treadmill. If I don’t, I get cranky.
I am a big believer in the benefits of exercise. For me, it’s about stress relief and feeling good. But, according to the American Heart Association, I am also reducing my risk for heart disease — American’s No. 1 killer, and that includes women, many of whom think breast cancer is the biggest killer.
So, get moving. What’s stopping you?
According to an American Heart Association survey, 54 percent of Americans find excuses not to exercise. Among those with excuses, the No. 1 excuse was lack of time.
If you are moving, what motivates you? Maybe, you can help those who are struggling in the community.
This study, of fifty women -- half yoga aficionados, half yoga newbies -- showed that the yoga veterans have lower levels of a chemical that's involved in heart disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes and other diseases. Science Daily did a write-up of the research, which was done by Ohio State scientists and appeared in Psychosomatic Medicine.
http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/2009/nov/30/182177/ The Science Daily article is worth checking out, if nothing else for the list of other stories about research on yoga's many benefits: - Yoga Provides Emotional Benefits To Women With Breast Cancer - Researchers Find Yoga May Be Effective For Chronic Low Back Pain In Minority Populations - Hatha Yoga Practice Lessens Fear Of Falling In Older Adults, Study Suggests - Regular Yoga Practice Is Associated With Mindful Eating