HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - February is heart disease awareness month. Heart disease and stroke are the leading cause of death for women in Hawaii. More than 47% - almost half - of all women in Hawaii are either overweight or obese.
So, Straub hospital launched a new screening program aimed specifically at women over age 35 - to get them "heart smart".
The hour long screening begins with an electro-cardiogram that detects irregular heartbeats. The patient lies comfortably with the electrodes attached.
Once that's complete, the nurse checks for hypertension by taking blood pressure on both arms. Then, she examines blood flow at the ankles - looking for arterial blockages in the legs. Doctors who created the screening made it as thorough as possible.
"Trying to do a screening is sometimes difficult," explains cardiologist, Dr. Lorelei Repique. "When you go, say, to a health fair, it's not really comprehensive. You may still have questions to ask, you don't really have anyone to go to."
They answer all questions, including symptoms of heart attacks in women. Both genders display classic signs like chest pressure, tightness, the sweats, and nausea. But women can show additional symptoms like sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion, and anxiety.
Part three of the screening involves drawing blood to determine cardiovascular and diabetes risks. Lastly, the nurse measures the waist, height, and weight to calculate body mass index.
Patient Nayra Gonzalez says the process was simple. "Because I don't know how my heart is functioning, it's obviously something that you always have that worry in the back of your head. But, knowing that I got through it and now, I'm going to wait for the final end results, I just hope I have a normal healthy heart."
Once the results come in, the staff reviews them with the patients. Most insurance won't pay for this comprehensive a screening, so it costs $65, but you can take the findings to your own personal physician to review the results. Straub is offering heart healthy gift certificates. So, instead of buying candy or flowers this Valentine's day - or beyond - you can buy the women in your life a $65 heart screening.