Fighting the ‘silent killers’

March 21, 2019

MICHIGAN CITY – The American Heart Association brought their Go Red for Women initiative to Michigan City on Friday – a “La Porte County Goes Red Breakfast” event intended to bolster the fight against heart disease and stroke in women

The goal of the event event at the Uptown Center, and the campaign, is to educate women on ways to reduce their odds of succumbing to the AHA calls “silent killers.”

The event was sponsored locally by Franciscan Health - Michigan City, which supplied heart-healthy recipe books to encourage attendees to make simple lifestyle changes that can prevent nearly 80 percent of heart-related deaths.

The event also recognized a local survivor of one of heart disease, Cynthia Williams, whose illness came to light only days after she gave birth to her daughter, Kennedy.

Williams shared her story of survival.

I knew something was wrong when I checked my blood pressure at home. I saw that it read 200 over 110.”

Initially misdiagnosed with postpartum preeclampsia, which her doctor thought was occurring due to her having so recently given birth to her daughter, Williams was doubtful that her condition matched her diagnosis.

She decided to seek a second opinion and went to Urgent Care.

“That’s when I got the news that would change my life forever. I didn’t know if I would make it home to my newborn baby of only two-weeks-old,” she said.

Her diagnosis turned out to be congestive heart failure, a condition with a low longtime survival rate.

“I am here today standing strong and inspiring women to listen to their bodies, because of the work of the American Heart Association,” she said.

The cardio-thoracic surgeon who saved William’s life – Dr. Hilton M. Hudson – also spoke Friday on prevention.

“If [your blood pressure] is not 120 over 80, you need to be concerned,” he said. “You don’t want to be over that because it’s going to cause a bunch of problems. Aneurysms, strokes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease – all of these things are related to high blood pressure.”

Hudson said that keeping an eye on one’s blood pressure is essential to a longevity.

“The reason they call it ‘the silent killer’ is because most of us sitting here today feel pretty good. It’s what you don’t know – that’s ‘just not so’ – that gets you.”

Hudson said patients who achieve the best outcomes are the ones who really put in the effort to educate themselves about their disease and make lifestyle changes recommended by their doctor.

“People that are proactive about their health are going to do better, even during [treatment for their disease],” he said.

More information on heart disease in women and the American Heart Association can be found at goredforwomen.org/.