Atlanta, Ga. (August 28, 2013) – Every fall, the nation goes pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Thousands march, fundraise and sport pink clothing to call attention to the disease that will kill 39,620 women this year, according to the American Cancer Society. Yet little will be said about the disease that kills more women than lung cancer, breast cancer and colon cancer combined: heart disease.
Jyoti Sharma M.D., a cardiologist who recently joined Piedmont Heart at Perimeter, thinks it is equally as important to focus on health issues like heart disease.
“As women, we’re often so busy taking care of everyone else that we overlook things that are going on with our bodies,” said Dr. Sharma. “We’ve done a great job of being mindful of breast cancer but not much else that threatens our health. Heart disease is a bigger threat to women’s health than most of us realize.”
It is estimated that one in nine women will get breast cancer in their lifetime. Yet, one in three women will have heart disease in her lifetime, according to the Metro Atlanta American Heart Association.
Heart disease poses a particular threat to Georgia women. In the state of Georgia, heart disease and stroke account for 28.2 percent of all female deaths, according to the American Heart Association. That’s the equivalent of about 27 deaths each day.
“Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States,” said Dr. Sharma, who has received a national award for excellence from the American Heart Association’s clinical council on Women in Cardiology. “The trouble is: how many women actually are aware of that fact?”
Putting Georgia women more at risk for heart disease and stroke is lifestyle, especially eating habits. More than half of all women in Georgia are obese and overweight, according to the American Heart Association. Additionally, over 15 percent of women smoke cigarettes – another risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
“I encourage women to see a preventive cardiologist earlier in life, before problems arise,” said Dr. Sharma, who received her medical degree from Emory University School of Medicine. “Working with your doctor to establish heart healthy habits early on and preventing heart disease is much easier and certainly less expensive than paying for medications and procedures once the problem is detected.”
Dr. Sharma is one of many physicians practicing at Piedmont Heart at Perimeter and specializes in cardiovascular diseases, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology. Previously, Dr. Sharma had specialized training at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX where she focused on comprehensive cardiac care in cancer patients.
For more information about heart health or to take a quick online assessment of your own risk for heart disease, visit piedmontheart.org. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharma, call 404-851-5400.