The health fair is meant to foster research and awareness for women’s heart disease, according to Dr. Rosy Thachil of the hospital’s Cardiology department. Educational materials were also available to get people to think about their heart health, regardless of age.
“One of the misconceptions we have in this country and really among physicians and patients too is that the number one killer of women is breast cancer, lung disease or something like that,” Dr. Thachil said. “It’s actually heart disease. To all the women: you know your body really well. If something feels off, just go to the doctor.”
Dr. Deborah Reynolds, also from Elmhurst Hospital’s Cardiology department, shared some facts when it comes to women’s heart health. One fact she brought up was that heart disease is not only common among older people, but rather people of all ages. She also noted that less than half of all women who contemplate pregnancy have optimal heart health. Additionally, Dr. Reynolds emphasized that heart symptoms may not just be chest pain for women. Other subtle signs may be abdominal pain, nausea, muscular pains or extreme fatigue.
“If we can optimize people’s heart health early in life, a lot of heart disease later in life can be prevented,” Dr. Reynolds said. “Our simple message is please speak to your primary care doctor or your OBGYN about your heart health and, if certain things are not optimal, the heart department is here to support.”
Queens Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas was also on hand for the health fair, where she discussed the importance of the event for the community.
“This issue is so important because heart health impacts women and particularly women of color,” González-Rojas said. “We know when you don’t have access to healthcare, when there’s barriers to accessing preventative care, then you’re more likely to experience heart disease. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness about this issue and I’m always so grateful to Elmhurst Hospital and the work that they’re doing, not just to serve the patients, but to educate the patients.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.