As the weight of the nation slowly continues to rise, heart disease cases are rising right along with it. While heart attacks are striking both men and women, but for the latter it's proving much more fatal. Brenda Kientopf did not want her weight to cause an early death so she's did something about it, now she's a shadow of her former self
"I've lost 130 pounds and kept it off for two years now and it's just portion control and exercise." Said Kientopf.
Working as the dietary manager at the Avera Heart Hospital, Brenda knew her body was not setting the best example for patients. After being diagnosed with diabetes and hypertension, she finally decided to take control.
"I was on a lot of medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, and all that and I decided I wanted to reduce my risk for heart disease so I had the Planet Heart Screen, I came here and had the test and decided I wanted to become healthier." Said Kientopf.
For Brenda, the vascular screening at Planet Heart was an eye opener. One that most women don't experience before it's too late.
"Well the deal is that heart disease in women is it's an under-studied and under referenced problem in the world and the U0nited States in particular most women if you ask them what they think their biggest risk is the all raise their hand and say breast cancer breast cancer affects one out of nine, kills one out of 30, but heart disease kills one out of three." Said Dr. Michael Hibbard with the North Central Heart Institute.
Heart disease is a growing problem in both men and women but for the ladies it's proving much more deadly.
"Women in general come out worse they have a worse prognosis if they do have a heart attack there's a lot of theories why that is one of the reasons is because the general have smaller arteries than men so they're harder to work on and they tend to show up sometimes later." Said Dr. Hibbard.
In fact, women in their 20's and 30's are starting to experience symptoms of heart disease. Dr. Hibbard says it's due to the increase in women smokers and a high prevalence of obesity and diabetes. It's a safe assumption we all could afford to lose a few pounds but Dr. Hibbard has a simple way to determine if you are at risk.
"You may laugh about this, but I tell people that they just need to take the Hibbard T-shirt Test and even Dr. Oz hasn't heard of the Hibbard T-shirt Test that when you get done brush your teeth in the morning with up your T-shirt and if you don't like what you see under there that you have work to do." Said Dr. Hibbard.
Diet and exercise are the best ways to fight heart disease, Dr. Hibbard says maintaining your ideal weight can actually reduce your risk by 80%. So whether you need to lose just 20 pounds or 130 like Brenda, her journey is proof it can be done.
"If I can do it everybody can do it it's something that can be done I mean it is a lot of work and keeping it off is more work than losing it but it's something that can be done and I recommend it for anyone." Said Kientopf.
Doctors repair damaged hearts every day at the Avera Heart Hospital. While Brenda has nothing against her talented co-workers, she's hoping the only place their paths cross is here in the cafeteria line.
"No I don't want to! I don't ever want to be a patient here!" Said Kientopf.
Dr. Hibbard says if you have diabetes your chances of dying from a heart-related issue are increased by 70%. For more information about cardiovascular disease just call 877-AT-AVERA.