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Don’t let Mom neglect her own health care

Staff Report • May 14, 2012 at 8:32 AM

Take time on this Mother’s Day to tell mom how much you appreciate all she does. Moms are there for us in sickness and in health. And sometimes mothers are so busy looking out for others, they fail to take care of their own health concerns.

The American Heart Association says more than half a million women will die of cardiovascular disease this year. This figure is more than the number of the next four causes of death for women combined.

While deaths from heart disease in the United States have dropped by half over the last 25 years, more women than men are dying from heart attacks. The AHA says new research indicates specific factors and symptoms are unique to a woman’s heart. These differences may account for the fact a woman is more likely than a man to die after her first heart attack.

The symptoms of cardiovascular disease for women can include pain in the jawbone, pain under the breastbone, unexplained fatigue, difficulty breathing or indigestion. Sometimes heart disease is misdiagnosed as anxiety, indigestion or a gall bladder problem.

The AHA website, www.americanheart.org, provides information about awareness, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Meanwhile, the American Cancer Society says more than 70 percent of all breast cancer cases involve women who are 50 or older. Early detection and new treatment options may save their lives. In fact, physicians say early detection is vital for lowering the mortality rates for the disease.

Calling attention to the importance of regular breast exams seems to be working. Even so, more needs to be done to get the word out. Low-cost or free mammography screening is available to women who are over 40 and underinsured or uninsured. For more information, call the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 888-842-6355 or visit its website at www.cdc.gov.

As we’ve said in this space many times before, Mother’s Day is a fitting time to encourage mom and all the women you love to take better care of themselves.

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