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Local News

February 24, 2013

Women focus on hearts

Aleicia Mack key speaker

DUNCAN — A Duncan High School graduate who is now a non-invasive cardiologist was the speaker at this year’s annual Women’s Healthy Heart Luncheon held Friday at the Simmons Center.

Aleicia Mack spoke to the more than 120 women registered for the 12th annual event, about heart disease.

Mack has a passion for women’s health. The focus of her presentation was imparting awareness of the risk factors, symptoms and signs of heart disease in women.

“More women have heart related deaths than men,” she said. “Women often deny, ignore or don’t notice their symptoms.”

Often times women put off having heart disease symptoms, which include chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue, by saying they are the result of recently being under a lot of stress. Mack said these signs should never be ignored.

“Every woman is at risk for heart disease,” she said. “You have to know the risk factors and the signs.”

Heart disease is the number one killer in Oklahoma.

The annual event is hosted by Duncan Regional Hospital and provides free health screenings and information geared directly at women. It is coordinated by the education department and OU College of Nursing students chip in to help spread information. Some of the booths set up in the Simmons Center lobby covered cardiac rehab, cancer, diabetes, and stroke.

“It’s going good and people are trickling in instead of waiting until right before the lunch,” said Julie Pennypacker, one of the key organizers.

One of the booths centered on the volunteer opportunities available at DRH, where Betty Beck, director of volunteer services, shared with interested attendees on how they could get involved.

She said volunteering is especially good for those who have just retired or who have recently moved into town as a good way to keep busy and meet people.

“There has been a lot of interest in volunteering,” Beck said.

“We could always use more volunteers.”

Many of the women who came Friday attend the event each year. One of those was Sylvia Walker, who said she has come for the past several years to keep up on her health.

“More people should take advantage of this,” she said.

“I always look forward to it; they do an awesome job.”

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