The newest member of the UC Davis cardiothoracic surgery team — Paul Perry — was also the newest presenter at this year’s Women’s Heart Care Forum, an annual event designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.
Perry encouraged the group to avoid surgery by working closely with their primary care providers to control their risk factors for heart disease: cholesterol, blood sugar, blood fat, blood pressure and weight. He also reassured them about the safety and efficacy of heart valve and bypass procedures.
“You may not be able to avoid heart surgery, and that is OK,” Perry said. “In the past 30 years, there have been impressive advances in our understanding of heart disease and the technology available to surgeons to treat it. It’s made huge differences in outcomes and quality-of-life for our patients.”
The forum was launched in 2006 by cardiologist Amparo Villablanca, director of the UC Davis Women’s Cardiovascular Medicine Program. Her goal was to give women of all ages the knowledge it takes to live heart healthy. She also wanted women to feel comfortable talking about heart disease, which for the most part is preventable.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, yet only about 50 percent of them realize this is true,” Villablanca said. “I want to raise the curtain on this threat to women’s lives by encouraging them to have open discussions with their doctors and family members about their heart disease risks and then take steps to manage them.”
This year’s forum was on the first Friday in February — National Wear Red Day® — the day set aside during American Heart Month to wear the color that symbolizes women’s heart health. In addition to expert presentations, the event includes interactive booths, a heart-healthy lunch and fashion show of the latest additions to the UC Davis Red Dress Collection.
More information about heart-disease prevention for women is at womenshearthealth.ucdavis.edu.