Few things are more important to a woman than her network. We live, work, and care for others with the help and advice of people we know. Thanks to a life-saving new program launched in May, your network just got stronger. Way stronger. Piedmont’s Dottie Fuqua Women’s Heart Support Network is up and running at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. Established locally with the generous support of the Piedmont Healthcare Foundation, J.B. Fuqua Foundation and Piedmont Healthcare Foundation Board Member Vicki Turner, this new initiative provides education and support for women who have heart disease or are at risk for developing this disease. One-on-one wellness coaching, classes, support groups, and a low-cost advanced heart screening for women are some of the resources available to us through this new outreach.
Ninety percent of women have at least one risk factor for heart disease, according to Dr. Bukola Olubi, Cardiologist and Women’s Heart Specialist with the Piedmont Heart Institute. For 12 years, she has been a favorite cardiologist in Fayette.
Dr. Olubi and Lauren Fyock, RN and Program Coordinator for the Women’s Heart Support Network, were featured in a panel discussion at the luncheon and also interviewed on the June 18 episode of Fayette Woman LIVE on Facebook (@fayettewoman).
One in three women die as a result of heart disease but 80% of heart and stroke events may be prevented with lifestyle changes, Dr. Olubi says.
The Women’s Heart Support Network is stepping in to help us make those changes.
For women who do not already have a diagnosed cardiac issue or cardiologist, an Advanced Heart Screening is available for only $99 at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. This in-depth screening includes a complete health history, including identifying pregnancy issues that may forecast cardiovascular risks, a thorough sleep evaluation, labs which include tests for inflammatory markers, a physical exam and an EKG. Each person who undergoes the screening receives a heart health report which includes a customized next-steps plan.
Meeting us where we’re at and then following us through the journey to prevent or manage heart disease is the biggest focus of this initiative, Lauren says. Historically, there’s been little support for women with heart disease beyond seeing a cardiologist who gives them a long to-do list of lifestyle improvements.
“You go to your doctor and they say, ‘lose weight, diet, exercise,’ and they just send you out and you feel lost,” Lauren said. “We’re here to follow women and support them through their journey.”
One-on-one wellness coaching is one of the next-step resources available through the network. Lauren is available to coach, guide and cheer on women who want to make the lifestyle changes that may lower their risk factors.
“I believe that physical health and mental health are fundamentally linked,” Dr. Olubi says, adding that many studies have linked stress and heart disease. “Stress releases certain hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases blood pressure, increases your heart rate and can also damage the artery lining of the heart which predisposes you to getting plaque. That plaque can lead to coronary heart disease which is blockage of arteries which can lead to heart attack.”
“If you think about it, when you’re stressed, are you going to eat right are you going to move and exercise,” Lauren asks. “It’s kind of a perfect storm where you just continue to spiral down. That’s usually the starting point. Women want to make changes but we realize they are so maxed out, so stressed beyond belief. We’ve got to start there.”
She encourages making small changes at first — adding 10 minutes a day of “me-time,” for instance — and building on that.
Lauren is also introducing educational events related to nutrition, exercise and mental well-being. Upcoming events include cooking classes and farmer’s market tours with My Chef Nancy Jaworski and Christi Hansen, MS, RDN, LD, registered dietician.
Quarterly “Heart to Heart” dinners will allow program participants to have Q&A discussions with cardiologists and other professionals in an intimate setting. The first one of these will feature Dr. Olubi in August. Jeremiah Ellis, Manager of Sleep Medicine at Piedmont Fayette Hospital, will be talking about the role of sleep in overall well-being at the “Heart to Heart” in November.
To find out more about one-on-one wellness coaching or upcoming Women’s Support Network events, call Lauren at 404.605.2894 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To schedule a $99 Advanced Heart Screening, call 404-949-8283 or visit piedmont.org/aha.