Are you a woman who is concerned about the health of your heart? Ashland Dental can help! As we’ve shared in our practice and our blog, your oral health has an impact on your complete health and vice versa. That is why we take time in every appointment to ensure our patients are taking care of their mouths, minds, and bodies. It is also why we host events like our February CIMT (carotid intima-media thickness test) heart-healthy event to help our patients examine the potential for and extent of cardiovascular disease.
As part of our continuing complete health focus, we’re sharing some key takeaways from a recent informative webinar titled “Shining Light on Women’s Heart Health,” presented by Dr. Amy Doneen, DNP. We hope that her insights will help women in our practice and beyond to become more heart-conscious and heart-healthy for a better quality of life. But first, we are going to share a bit of background on Dr. Amy Doneen and the BaleDoneen Method for the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Amy Doneen and the BaleDoneen Method
Dr. Amy Doneen is a DNP and professor, as well as the medical director and owner of the Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center. She is the co-founder of the BaleDoneen Method, which was developed to help people prevent heart attack, diabetes, and stroke.
The BaleDoneen Method uses a detailed assessment combined with lab and image testing to help detect hidden markers that indicate arterial disease or potential risk factors for arterial disease. According to the BaleDoneen website, “Peer-reviewed studies have shown that our evidence-based, precision-medicine approach can halt, stabilize or reverse cardiovascular disease. …” BaleDoneen focuses on educating both provider and patient about how to be aware of and detect risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The method follows elements such as identifying plaque within the heart, detection, and monitoring of inflammation, examining a patient’s genetic propensity for disease, treating the cause of CVD, and creating actionable goals for treatment, prevention, and reversal of the disease.
With all of this in mind, here are a few valuable insights provided by Dr. Doneen during the webinar.
Takeaway #1: Heart Disease Awareness is in Decline
While the medical profession and many health-focused organizations focus on diseases like cancer, heart disease has stealthily been killing women at a very surprising rate. According to Dr. Doneen, one in three women will die from heart disease, versus one in 31 from breast cancer. The shocking and disappointing aspect of this statistic is that heart disease can be preventable with proper health education. That is one of the reasons that Ashland Dental spends so much time talking with our patients about not just dental health, but wellness overall.
Takeaway #2: Women Present Heart Disease Symptoms Differently than Male Counterparts
An additional factor that can work against women trying to prevent heart disease is that their symptoms present differently than their male counterparts. One of the most surprising facts that Dr. Doneen shared was that the average age of a heart attack for a woman is just 47 years old. For men, the age is 65! Women can have symptoms for years that they attribute to other health problems, such as stomach pain, heartburn, anxiety, and nausea.
Even worse, more than half reported that they never received any hint that heart disease might be an issue when bringing these symptoms to their doctor. Hidden heart disease can fester for years, and the first indication of a problem is often a catastrophic heart attack. That means that many women have no idea they have heart disease until it kills them. When we offered CIMT at our practice at the beginning of the year, it was our hope to help patients detect indicators of heart disease so they could take steps to treat it.
Takeaway #3: Your Dentist Can Help You Detect Heart Disease and Lower Your Risk
One of the most exciting takeaways from Dr. Doneen’s webinar is how important our role at Ashland Dental is in the support of lowering the risk for heart disease. While you may think that just means hosting heart-focused events, it’s actually quite a bit more. Your mouth is the gateway to your body and your oral health can tell your dentist so much about your overall wellness. For example, if you have periodontal disease, Harvard Health notes that you are two to three times more likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or heart-related issue. Ashland Dental offers some extensive gum treatments like PerioProtect to help treat and prevent gum disease, as well as Waterlase dentistry. If you do have gum disease, it is important to get your heart checked!
Your dentist can also help you recognize another risk factor — sleep apnea and airway issues. According to the webinar, “sleep apnea enhances oxidative stress by the reduction of antioxidant capacity of the blood due to hypoxia.” Your body is not getting the proper amount of oxygen and that is certainly not good for your heart or any other part of your body. The Sleep Foundation states that patients with sleep apnea are two to four times more likely to have heart issues and the risk of heart disease increases by a whopping 140%! If your dentist has detected airway issues or sleep apnea, they can help you determine a treatment plan to help you breathe better. As with gum disease, apnea and airway issues are other signs you should see a doctor about your heart health. Don’t take no for an answer, get tested!
Start Your Complete Health Journey with Ashland Dental
We hope you’ll take time to check out Dr. Doneen’s informative webinar to learn more about how you can focus on your own heart health or that of the women you care about. If you are interested in learning how your regular dental visits can help you become more heart-healthy, give Ashland Dental a call to schedule an appointment. We would love to be your partner in your complete health journey!