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January 2018

Women: Be alert to unique heart symptoms

three women wearing red with the Go Red For Women Logo on the upper right hand cornerIn the typical Hollywood depiction of a heart attack, a middle-aged or elderly man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In real life, the victim of a heart attack may just as readily be a woman, and her symptoms may not be as dramatic.

Although men and women can experience pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, UHS heart experts say. Instead, they may experience shortness of breath, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, extreme fatigue or upper back pressure and, if they have chest-area pain or pressure, it might appear in the lower chest or upper abdomen, they note.

Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesn’t get help right away. And even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions, such as acid reflux, the flu or normal aging, the American Heart Association reports. 

A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a build-up of fat, cholesterol or plaque.

To do all that you can to prevent an attack, UHS heart experts recommend the following:

  • Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to learn your personal risk for heart disease.
  • If you smoke, quit (and if you don't smoke, don't start). Within just one year of quitting, you’ll cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 50 percent.
  • Start an exercise program. Walking just 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Modify your family’s diet if needed. Check out these healthy cooking tips.

UHS will mark "Wear Red Day" by hosting a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., on Friday, Feb. 2, in the Lobby of UHS Vestal, 4417 Vestal Parkway East. Wear Red Day is an annual nationwide observance of the American Heart Association's "Go Red for Women" campaign to raise awareness about heart disease among women. 

Stop by for the ribbon-cutting and presentations by UHS medical experts and representatives of the American Heart Association, followed by free refreshments. The event will feature remarks by former heart patient Kimberly Quick. 

Be sure to wear something red to the event - such as a blouse, shirt, sweater, tie or scarf. You'll look great and show your support for the cause of better women's heart health.

Flu outbreak is bad, so take precautions

Young woman sneezing and covering her mouth with her armWith a particularly brutal flu outbreak spreading across the country, UHS urges the public to take several steps to prevent the flu:

  • Get a flu shot; it's not too late.
  • Stay at home if you have a fever.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cough or sneeze into your arm.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, so germs don't spread.
  • If you use tissue paper, throw it away immediately.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • If you're not feeling well, don't visit friends or family members who are in the hospital.

It is still too early to say just how bad this influenza season will be, but officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are concerned that it could reach an epidemic level.

Currently the flu is widespread in 46 states, and there are four times as many cases now as compared with this time last year.

Young children are being especially hard-hit.

In some parts of the country, schools have closed and hospitals have had to reschedule surgeries.

While there are many different flu viruses, the vaccine protects against the viruses that research suggests will be most common, according to the CDC.

The CDC notes that vaccination can reduce episodes of illness, visits to the doctor's office and missed days of work or school due to the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

'Kids on Track' offers steps toward fitness

young children happy with their arms in the airUHS is presenting two programs as part of the "Kids on Track" effort that will help get your youngsters into the regular exercise habit.

At the mall

Looking for something to do with your children to avoid the winter blahs?

Join the UHS Stay Healthy Kids’ Wellness Program for "Kids on Track," a guided walk through Oakdale Mall every Sunday in February and March.

The walks are held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., so gather the whole family, wear comfortable sneakers and step out for a quick, interesting way to get in shape.

Kids on Track is a free, fun way to inspire your youngsters to make exercise part of their routine.

To join the guided walk, meet inside the mall, northeast corner, Reynolds Road side, at the UHS Stay Healthy Center next to Tuxedo Junction.

Warm-ups, cool-downs and light group exercises are included along the way.

Just show up. Better yet, sign up ahead of time by contacting Megan Farmer of Stay Healthy Kids at or 763-6722.

At the Coal House

The Kids on Track fitness program is brought to you by UHS Stay Healthy Kids and the Vestal Coal House. Kids on Track is a walking, running and wellness program for the youth of our community.

The spring session takes place at the Coal House every Sunday, at 2 p.m., from April 15 through June 3. This event is for children ages 5 to 15.

The entire eight-week program is just $10 and includes a Kids on Track shirt. It will be conducted by the Vestal Coal House and Confluence Running.

There will be guided walking and running, relay races, mile trackers, wellness discussions, giveaways and free post-workout smoothies and snacks.

Charms will be awarded for cumulative milestone markers: 5, 10, 15, 20 and a grand prize for all who reach the marathon level of 26.2 miles over the eight weeks. Prizes for relay winners will be awarded as well.

Registration is open at If you have questions, call 221-3727.