Oct 16, 2008, Vol. 6 Issue 18
One of the benefits of specializing in health, wellness and women’s events, is that I get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on around the country. It may surprise some of you (unless you’re the sponsor) to know that all breast cancer awareness events are not held in October and all heart health events are not held in February. It’s great to feature awareness during specific months, but as we all know, these diseases know no boundaries.
So, today I wanted to share some information with you that I became aware of from our heart health speaker (and heart attack survivor) Eliz Greene. We all know mammograms can detect early breast cancer, but did you know mammograms may also predict early heart disease?
Mammograms and Heart Disease
Along with detecting a lump, mammograms can also detect calcium deposits in the blood vessels of the breast, an indicator of early heart disease. Calcium deposits detected on mammograms correlated to a significantly increased risk of stroke, according to research conducted by Dr. Paul S. Dale, chief of surgical oncology at the University of Missouri’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center, and presented earlier this year at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference. What does this mean for women? Not only are mammograms an essential tool for diagnosing breast cancer but they can also be useful in screening for heart disease and stroke as well.
“I was very excited to see this research,” Eliz said. “This is a new tool to help diagnose heart disease in women, which is under-diagnosed to begin with. Plus, instead of a new test, it’s something that most women are already (or should be) doing.”
Once the calcium deposits are discovered, doctors can screen for and address other risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and create a treatment plan to limit the risk of stroke and heart attack.
As a heart attack survivor (see story below), Eliz is passionate about women’s heart health (she’s even taken up the cause on Capitol Hill). Here are her thoughts on linking this research to action.
Have regular mammograms. Surprisingly, only half the women who should have annual mammograms actually get them, even when their insurance pays for them. Having previous tests to compare can be essential in picking up small changes. Talk to your doctor to determine how often you should be screened.
Ask your doctor specifically if your mammogram shows calcium deposits in the blood vessels of your breast, it may not be something he or she is in the habit of reporting.
Schedule a cardiac and stroke screening if you do have deposits and discuss ways to decrease your risk.
Women who have had open-heart surgery or other surgery in the chest area need to be especially consistent with mammograms because scar tissue can mask a lump. Even if you are not at the recommended age, discuss with your doctor the need to have a yearly mammogram to be safe. Scars and increased sensitivity may make a mammogram more challenging; discuss these issues with the mammogram technician before you begin. If you have an implanted device, such as a pace maker or internal defibrillator, make sure the technician understands the compression must be done slowly and cautiously so as not to dislodge the leads.
If you are scheduled to have chest surgery, get a mammogram first if possible.
If you are 40 or older and haven’t had mammogram in the last 24 months, call your doctor and schedule an appointment today.
Heart Health Speaker/Advocate:
Eliz Greene is a heart attack survivor who is passionate about promoting heart health for women and advocating for patients. She knows what she’s talking about. Eliz was seven-months pregnant with twins when she suffered a massive heart attack at age 35. Her life changed — not only did she survive a ten-minute cardiac arrest, the cesarean delivery of her daughters and open-heart surgery, all on the same day — she gained new perspective and passion for life.
Determined to regain her health, Eliz developed strategies to fit activity and healthy habits into her life. She lost the more than eighty pounds she gained while pregnant and has since become a recreational triathlete. Her heart attack forced her to slow down and pay attention to what was important — to engage life rather than just endure it and she wrote a book to share that experience – “Passion for Life.”
In addition to lifestyle strategy programs for prevention, she’s developed programs that give physicians and medical students a look at what happens with patients after their work is done. Often healthcare providers are unaware of the unique challenges women face when dealing with the interventions, medications and treatments for heart disease — mostly because women don’t talk about them with their physicians. “Women are so glad to be alive,” Eliz says, “that they don’t speak up about things that are bothering them.”
Drawing on personal experience and hundreds of hours of interviews with female heart patients, Eliz developed these programs to feature the patient’s perspective on women living with heart disease. She also created a talk designed to inform women about everything they need to know before heart surgery. It’s called, “She’s Going To Need A New Bra.”
Eliz is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and chairs the Advocacy Committee in her home state of Wisconsin. Today, she is a healthy 43-year-old living in Milwaukee with her husband, Clay, and their (now 8-year-old) daughters.
In each community she visits, Eliz seeks to build awareness, improve the treatment of women with heart disease, and dispel the stigma challenging survivors. Her enthusiasm is contagious. To learn more about Eliz’s programs and availability, please give us a call at 503-699-5031 or learn more about Eliz Greene on our website.
Celebrating 10 Years:
Memory Lane – Part 3
People are always asking me how I got started in this business and I tell them the truth – I’m a motivational speaker junkie. Ever hit a low point in your life? Well, my Big Dip was twenty-four years ago, when I lost my man, my mentor and my mother in a matter of months – it was as if a rug that held these huge parts of me had been pulled out from under me in one huge sweep and I was left in the dust. The one thing that stayed constant was my house, although I came pretty close to losing that, too. Looking back now, I’m sure I was depressed, I just didn’t know it. After months of aimlessness, Divine Intervention showed up in the form of a girlfriend, who told me about a class at our local local community college. It was called, “Eliminating Self-Defeating Behavior,” and in a matter of hours, I found myself enrolled and sitting among a group of strangers.
Talk about an eye-opener! This was my first exposure to motivational speakers (via video) like Wayne Dyer and Leo Buscalgia, and I still remember Wayne’s words, “You can’t get behind somebody else’s eyeballs.” That changed my life. Well, that and lots of exercises, journalling and sharing. (I had thought everyone saw things, events, etc., the same as I did. NOT!) No wonder two and two did not equal four. I woke up. I came alive. I took my power back.
Now, please don’t misunderstand. This has not been a one-time event in my life. It’s definitely an ongoing process. That initial re-discovery, however, led me to more classes. I hadn’t taken a class since I’d graduated from college and this was fun, this was for me. Then, of course, as I became clearer about what I wanted to do, opportunities arose. I loved writing and I was really excited about the impact motivational speakers could have in changing lives. I did some marketing work for a couple of motivational speakers, and eventually worked for a speakers bureau. Interestingly, I was never interested in BEING a motivational speaker (I’ve always suffered from stage fright) but loved the idea of supporting those who are.
At the speakers bureau, we also ran a lending library of motivational tapes for a major corporation. I had access to a virtual smorgasboard of teachers, and I used it. That, reviewing tons of speaker materials, as well as writing the descriptive copy for our catalog, gave me an education and developed my acuity to attributes like talent and authenticity. I also went to as many live events as I possibly could.
Along the way, (more personal development), I became interested in health and wellness, but that’s another story, to be continued in our next issue . . .
Until next time, take care of yourself, for your well being and those you love.
PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.