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HEART 2018 Heart Health Supplement

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Heart Supplement / 2018



2018 / Heart Supplement

WHY SHE EXERCISES CAUTION By Tiffany White Photo by Melissa Donald

Ashley Dones, 26, handles her heart cautiously but doesn’t miss out on the rhythm of life. She was born with congenital heart disease and has to be careful about her level of physical activity. At age 15, she had open heart surgery and will need to have another surgery depending on the future condition of her heart. Ashley’s previous doctor encouraged her to stop taking pure barre classes and said she couldn’t do any type of exercise outside of jogging. She didn’t want to jeopardize her health, but she wasn’t willing to let heart disease stop her from doing the things she loves. Ashley’s desire to seek solutions for improving her health also came from seeing the healthy lifestyle choices her best friend Alex Hendrickson made. “She was eating very well, making conscious decisions, and had tons of energy,” Ashley says. Ashley got a second opinion from an adult congenital heart specialist who told her that she could workout safely without as many limitations. Her friend Alex, who is an occupational therapist with a background in fitness, created different workouts for Ashley, and they began exercising together last year. “She helped me formulate my own plan and figure out how to get it cleared with my cardiologist. I can do squats and lunges. I just have to listen to my body and know when to stop,” she says. Ashley uses the Kayla Itsines BBG fitness program, which is based on building resistance and strength. The workouts become increasingly challenging, but Ashley has already completed five months of the program and considers it a huge accomplishment. “The program is extremely challenging but so rewarding at the same time, so I feel like a wonder woman for getting as far as I have in the program,” she says. The health benefits Ashley has gained from her new fitness regimen keep her

motivated to continue, but knowing she’ll be getting married in October is another incentive. “That is a daily reminder to work hard to reach my end goal, but also, I’m generally motivated by how I feel physically,” she says. Aside from protecting her heart, Ashley works 12 hours a day caring for the hearts of others at Norton Hospital, where she is a registered cardiac ICU nurse. She enrolled in nursing school at the University of Louisville with the intent of giving back to the profession that saved her life. “After that experience, I was in the hospital for quite some time. I had that major surgery, and I saw the impact of the nurses and the doctors. The nurses are the ones who are giving you 24-hour care. Your docs are great. They are brilliant, but your doctor breezes in and out. The nursing staff is with you and by your side for all your needs. They are overlooking your care and making suggestions for your best

interest. I really picked up on that and was inspired by that, and I had a lot of gratitude for that,” she says. Ashley has been in her job for two and half years, but she didn’t anticipate gravitating toward a career closely tied to her health situation. “Even when I was in nursing school, I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to do this because of my personal experience of being a heart patient. I surprised myself, because I thought I would want to get away from it.” Instead, Ashley’s intense curiosity about the heart — coupled with knowledge she already gained from her heart condition — made it a logical career choice.

Heart Supplement / 2018


A CAUTIONARY TALE By Carrie Vittitoe Photo by Melissa Donald

Like many of us, Beth Stone tries to exercise when she can, but she is the first to admit she isn’t perfect when it comes to fitness. Her small frame might give others the impression she exercises all the time, but she really prefers walking in the park to hitting the gym regularly. Because she “looks” healthy, it may come as a surprise that she suffered a mild heart attack on Christmas Eve 2016 at the age of 51. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Beth and her husband, Dave, had been having family celebrations, but she didn’t feel particularly stressed. She wasn’t tired or overwhelmed. While putting away groceries on December 24, she felt a sharp pain in her chest that was soon followed by a sensation of numbness in her right arm. It wasn’t until she was hit with nausea that she felt scared and had her adult children take her to the emergency room. By the time Beth arrived at the hospital, she felt fine again and wondered if she had made the right decision in seeking medical attention. Dave, who is senior pastor at Southeast Christian Church, was preparing for Christmas Eve services, so Beth didn’t want to bother him until she knew what was going on. She says, “The doctor walked in the door and said, ‘You’ll be spending the night.’ I about flipped off the table.” She was truly shocked to learn that she had experienced what is known as broken heart syndrome, which is brought on by stress. Fortunately, Beth’s heart was not damaged. She didn’t have high cholesterol or any other common risk factors of heart disease. She wasn’t put on a strict diet or told she needed to lose weight. “They told me I needed to learn to de-stress,” she says. “I thought I had good boundaries,” she says, “But I find myself saying no on the outside but then carrying it with me.” In their various church ministries, Beth and Dave try to help as many people as they can, but it is impossible to help everyone in as big a community as Southeast Christian Church. “You kinda carry that weight,” she says, but she is trying harder to mentally unplug. Beth has worked some of this scary experience into her ministry, especially with young mothers. She tells them that it is important to be more aware of stressful things. Even though it can be challenging, Beth says she is working to say to herself: “My list is this long, and I’m not going to add anything else to it.”


2018 / Heart Supplement

Heart Supplement / 2018


SHOULD OUR KIDS WEAR RED? By Carrie Vittitoe Photos by Melissa Donald

Today’s Woman Goes Red each year to raise awareness of how heart disease impacts women in our community. In many cases, heart disease doesn’t just pop up when a woman is in her 40s, 50s, and beyond. The habits we develop as children are the foundations that can either lead to heart disease or prevent heart disease when we are adults. Going red is really something that needs to begin in childhood. The incidence of preventable heart disease has increased over the past decade or so due in large part to an increase in obesity.

The increase in childhood obesity is of significant concern because of the known association between obesity and the development of elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and type II diabetes mellitus. These are all known to be associated with early cardiovascular disease.” — Dr. Lucinda Wright, director of fetal cardiology at Norton Children’s Hospital

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2018 / Heart Supplement

Jameson Woods, age 3, attends gymnastics class weekly, and eats fruits and vegetables with every meal.

Heart Supplement / 2018


<< PAGE 6 Parents are often confused about how best to feed their children, particularly when busy lifestyles make it increasingly difficult to sit everyone in the family down to a home-cooked, nutritious meal. There is often a need for convenience foods for on-the-go lives. Many parents (myself included) wonder how to work in nutritious meals when they can and healthyish convenience foods when they need them. Laura Walsh, a local registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist, says the Kentucky Department for Public Health has a program called 5-2-1-0: Healthy Numbers for Kentucky Families. This program informs parents about ways to improve children’s health by remembering to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, getting two or fewer hours of screen time a day, having one hour of physical activity per day, and drinking no sugary drinks. Dr. Wright says it is critical that parents lead by example as much as possible. “Children learn what they see at home, and parents should model the healthy lifestyle they want their kids to live,” she says. Taking a family walk or bike ride or making dinner together are ways to begin this modeling process. Cutting out sugary drinks from the grocery budget for all family members is another idea. “Parents should avoid waiting too

long to teach healthy habits and thus avoid making healthy habits feel like a punishment for a child when a health problem develops, and change is needed,” she says. Of course, sometimes it feels like an impossible task to find the time to go for a walk or fix dinner. Fixing a snack of salsa with pretzels instead of potato chips may be the best you can do some days. Working in exercise some evenings may be as simple as challenging your kids to see who can run up and down the steps five times the fastest, which can be done as a way to get their wiggles out before bed. Parents may wonder how to know whether their children are in the danger zone for developing childhood heart disease. Dr. Wright says most pediatricians feel comfortable talking to parents about heart disease risk during yearly wellness visits. While body mass index (BMI) is the standard measure of obesity in both adults and children, Dr. Wright says, “We look at percentiles in children.” Children naturally go through growth stages when they may be a little more skinny or a little more pudgy, and these tend to be normal fluctuations in weight. The percentile range for normal BMI for children is anywhere between 5-85 percent, which is pretty wide and accounts for natural growth progression. Dr. Wright says when a

“Children learn what they see at home, and parents should model the healthy lifestyle they want their kids to live.” — Dr. Lucinda Wright


2018 / Heart Supplement

child reaches 85-95 percent BMI, he or she is considered overweight. A BMI in the 95th percentile is considered obese. If a child is in the overweight or obese percentile or has elevated blood pressure at doctor visits, his or her pediatrician may recommend additional blood testing to check lipid or glucose levels. Depending on the results of testing, a family may be referred to a pediatric cardiologist or endocrinologist, which is often the trigger that gets families to take the problem seriously. “When families are referred to a specialist, it kind of sinks in that this is a real problem,” Dr. Wright says. Sometimes families whose children are between 7-13 years old with a BMI in the 95th percentile or greater are referred to the YMCA’s Healthy Weight and Your Child pilot program. Ime Okpokho, associate director of community integrated health, says the program duration is 25 weeks and includes both an educational and a physical activity component. A parent or guardian must attend every

session with the child. The cost is determined by annual household income and family size and includes not only the program and materials, but also a family YMCA membership during those 25 weeks. While most doctors would be hesitant to make medication usage their first order of business for children, if a family has a strong history of heart disease it might be prudent to be aggressive in treating the condition. A child with a long and strong family history of hypertension might legitimately benefit from lifestyle changes along with medication. Fortunately, children have time on their sides when it comes to heart disease. “When we change habits at a young age, we can change the risk outcome,” Dr. Wright says.

Heart Supplement / 2018


DOES THAT PAIN MEAN SOMETHING? Have pain in your shoulder? It could be the sign of a heart attack. Have an arm feeling numb? That could be the sign of a stroke. It is important to understand that the symptoms of a heart attack are different depending on your body. Below are some guidelines put out by the American Heart Association to help you identify when to seek further medical attention.





Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.



is the



of women.



Is one weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms.


Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.”



2018 / Heart Supplement

If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1.

Heart Supplement / 2018




The women and men involved in the American Heart Association’s Circle of Red and Leadership Team have many different reasons for getting involved in spreading the message. Here are some of the reasons below — and some ways they have found to take care of their own hearts.


“I had bypass surgery. Two heart attacks, four stents. Lost both parents and both grandparents to heart disease.” SHELLY BURGAN

My father died of a massive heart attack which brought the disease close. I am involved to create awareness of some simple steps to having a healthy heart.” LEAH PITTMAN

“I lost my paternal grandmother to congestive heart failure. I lost my maternal grandmother to a stroke. My daughter Kate was diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale and mitral valve prolapse at age 16. She is doing well. I lost my father October 31st 2017 to a massive myocardial infarction. It was devastating.” KIM THARP-BARRIE

“I have rheumatic heart disease. Women need to be more knowledgeable of heart issues. High level of exercise, pay attention to diet.” JUDI PETTY


“My mother died of a heart attack and I have atrial septal defect, which is a common congenital heart condition that increases your chances of stroke. I practice and teach mindful eating for people who love food, wine, and eating out. I get lots of exercise, and I’m married to a guy with a great heart!” DR. JAN ANDERSON


2018 / Heart Supplement

My mom and dad both had strokes and my father-inlaw died from a sudden heart attack. Eat lots of vegetables, try to manage stress, and ride a stationary bike.”

“Heart disease runs in my family. Heart disease surrounds us in the community and our workplace. I want to help educate all about heart disease and decrease the number one killer of women.” PAMELA ALVEY

“I had a congenital heart defect and surgery in 2012. Many family and friends are also affected. I’m involved to help raise awareness for others.” LEAH EGGERS


“Exercise, eat healthy, yoga, walks, Pure Barre and try to enjoy life and let the little things go and accept the big things knowing it’s out of my control.” DAWN WIGGINTON

Heart Supplement / 2018


Go Red For Women The Circle of Red is a group of volunteers who work together to help raise awareness about heart disease and stroke in the community. To become a member, contact Karrie Harper at or 502.371.6014.

Go Red for Women Leadership Team: (l-r) Leah Pittman Director, Brown-Forman Corporation, Circle of Red; Kelsey Radcliffe, Administrative Associate, Development, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Go Red for Women; Shelly Burgan, Director of Operations, Beacon Property Management Go Red; Kim Huffman, Managing Partner, Neil Huffman Auto Group, Go Red; Stephanie Lackey, Former Executive Director, Vice President, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association; Leah Eggers, Business Consultant, LAE Consulting, LLC, Circle of Red; Judi Petty, Vice President and Director, Field Operations, NORC at the University of Chicago, Circle of Red; Kim Tharp-Barrie, Vice President, Institute for Nursing & Workforce Outreach, Norton Healthcare, Circle of Red; Dawn Wigginton, Communications Director, American Heart Association; Nancy L. Hublar, Senior Manager, Blue & Co., LLC, Circle of Red; (Front row l-r) George Kraft, Owner, Senior Benefits Alliance, Co-Chair, Executive Leadership Team; Pamela Alvey, APRN, co-owner, Extended Care House Calls, Circle of Red for Women, Co-Chair, Leadership Team; Pamela Missi DNP, RN, Vice President & Chief Nursing Officer, Norton Women & Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hospital, Chair of Board Go Red for Women, Circle of Red, Leadership Team; Jill Joseph Bell, Vice President Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Passport Health Plan, Circle of Red; Dr. Jan Anderson, President, LifeWise, Inc. Chair, Circle of Red


2018 / Heart Supplement

Heart Supplement / 2018



2018 / Heart Supplement

2018 Heart Health  
2018 Heart Health