Women Need to Know More About Treating Heart Disease

<b>Women Need to Know More About Treating Heart Disease</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Although 73 percent of women know how to prevent heart disease, many are unaware of how to treat it once a diagnosis has been made.

In a survey of 1,979 women over age 35, only 55 percent said they understand how to treat heart disease. Respondents often incorrectly named prevention techniques such as exercise and healthy eating as treatment options, and less than 10 percent named actual treatments such as angioplasty and stent placement.

Hispanics and African-Americans, both considered high-risk groups for heart disease, were twice as likely as Caucasian women to say they did not know any treatments at all.

The survey was conducted by the “Healthy From the Heart” campaign sponsored by the National Women’s Health Resource Center and Cordis Corp. The campaign encourages women to learn about treatment options for coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease, so they can make better decisions if diagnosed.

“The good news is that women are aware that they are at risk for heart disease. The bad news is that they are overly confident in their ability to prevent it and treat it,” said Dr. Cindy Grines, an interventional cardiologist with William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oaks, Mich. “Women must realize that education is the key to conquering the threat of coronary artery disease. There are a variety of treatment options now available.”

The most common procedure for treating coronary artery disease is balloon angioplasty with a coronary stent. Angioplasty widens narrowed arteries by threading a balloon-tipped catheter through the arm or groin artery to the blocked artery in the heart. The balloon is inflated to compress the plaque against the artery walls, which in turn expands the blood vessel so blood can flow more easily.

Scientific advances have led to the development of the drug-eluting stent, a tiny mesh scaffold that props the artery open while releasing small amounts of a particular drug, such as sirolimus, inside the artery over a period of time. This helps keep plaque from reforming and helps prevent repeat blockage from occurring inside the blood vessel.

Coronary bypass surgery is another treatment option. While more invasive, it is a safe and effective treatment for patients who may not qualify for angioplasty and stent insertion.

Experts recommend patients talk with a doctor about what treatment option is best for them. To learn more about heart disease treatment options, visit www.cordis.com for a downloadable “Healthy From the Heart” brochure.

Walking the Walk for AIDS

<b>Walking the Walk for AIDS</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – UNAIDS estimates that more than 37 million adults and 2 million children are infected with HIV worldwide. The AIDS epidemic has hit the hardest in sub-Saharan Africa, where 75 percent of the women ages 15 to 24 are infected.

Closer to home, 40,000 people per year in the U.S. are infected, more than half of whom are African-American women. The latter group by itself accounts for 72 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in women.

In the face of these overwhelming statistics, what can be done? Some corporations are making a difference with contributions to charities supporting the cause and helping in other ways.

For example, Roche, a pharmaceutical company that developed the HIV protease inhibitors Invirase and Viracept, has not filed any patents for its medicines – including those for HIV/AIDS – in the least-developed nations and sub-Saharan Africa. This means that these countries, which are devastated by the epidemic, can manufacture and sell cheap, generic versions of the drugs without waiting for the patents to expire.

The company also is dedicated to increasing awareness of the illnesses.

“Roche is committed to driving social responsibility programs that increase awareness and combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic at the local and international level,” said George Abercrombie, president and CEO, Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., the U.S. pharmaceuticals headquarters of Roche.

Beyond this, Roche and its employees are working more directly to address the problem through the company’s annual Global Employee AIDS Walk in observance of World AIDS Day.

Roche employees have been participating in the walk for more than two years. In December 2005, more than 11,000 employees from 85 affiliates in 42 countries walked to raise funds for AIDS organizations. The money raised through their pledges was matched by the company.

Some of the funds are distributed to local HIV/AIDS organizations. In New Jersey, for example, funds will go to the NJ AIDS Partnership. The rest goes to children in Malawi, Africa, who have been orphaned by AIDS. The money goes to buy everything from food and clean water to shelter, books and sewing machines.

HIV is spread by sexual contact with an infected person, by sharing needles or syringes with someone who is infected or – less commonly – through transfusions of infected blood. Babies of HIV-infected women may become infected before or during birth or through breast feeding.

For more information on HIV and AIDS, call (800) 458-5231 or visit www.cdc.gov/ hiv/pubs/facts/transmission.htm or www.thebody.com.

Americans Urged to Identify Their Cholesterol Goal, Get Health ‘Makeover’

<b>Americans Urged to Identify Their Cholesterol Goal, Get Health ‘Makeover’</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – From fixing leaking roofs to repainting peeling walls, many people take on renovation jobs themselves to enhance their homes. But when it comes to enhancing their health, many Americans simply aren’t tackling the job.

Nearly 38 million Americans have high levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol – a major risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke -but a new national survey shows that many people don’t have the right “know-how” to best manage their cholesterol and lower their LDL levels.

To raise awareness about the dangers of high cholesterol and the importance of setting a specific, target goal number, WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease and the Association of Black Cardiologists Inc. have joined together with AstraZeneca to launch the GOAL Standard, a new nationwide consumer education campaign.

Paul DiMeo, designer and carpenter from ABC’s hit show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” has joined the GOAL Standard team to help empower and motivate people – including those already being treated with cholesterol-lowering statin medications – to be “heart handy” and work with their health care providers to identify a target cholesterol goal, and make a plan to successfully reach and maintain that goal.

“A cholesterol-lowering program is a lot like a home makeover project; you have to determine a goal, draw up blueprints to reach that goal and work according to plan, tracking your progress along the way,” says DiMeo, who embarked on his own health makeover after being diagnosed with high cholesterol. “My doctor and I made sure I had all the tools I needed to reach my target goal -; and now I’ve made a lifelong commitment to maintain it.”

When treating patients with elevated cholesterol, doctors often consult target LDL number guidelines identified by The National Cholesterol Education Program. Yet a new survey shows that the majority (60 percent) of U.S. adults who are being treated with cholesterol-lowering statin medications do not know their target cholesterol goal. Further, 69 percent of these same statin users who are discussing cholesterol goals with their health care provider and do not know their cholesterol goal, are not communicating with their doctor about ways to lower their cholesterol and 31 percent are not talking with their doctor about ways to maintain their cholesterol goal.

Two out of five adults (40 percent) – and approximately two out of five patients using statin medications (38 percent) – say they wish their health care professionals would spend more time discussing cholesterol with them.

“The survey suggests that patients are confused about how to best manage this potentially deadly condition, and need to talk openly with their doctors about treatment options and target goals,” says Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and member of WomenHeart’s Scientific Advisory Board. “It is critical that all patients with high cholesterol, including those using statin medications, also follow personalized plans focused on healthy living to lower their LDL and reach their goal.”

Learn more about high cholesterol, risk factors and how to determine a target goal at www.GOALStandard.com. The site features an interactive cholesterol calculator to help you talk with your doctor about the condition and available treatment options.

The Harris Interactive online survey for the GOAL Standard campaign was conducted between Sept. 22 and 29, 2005 among 1,029 U.S. adults and 1,180 U.S. adults who have been diagnosed with high cholesterol and are currently using statin medication to treat their high cholesterol. Sampling error for the general public results is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points and for the statin user results is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Aflac Donates $1 Million to African-American Museum

<b>Aflac Donates $1 Million to African-American Museum</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – In Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Institution will soon welcome an addition to its family of museums that house priceless works of art and other relics.

To celebrate the legacy and contributions of black people in the U.S., the Smithsonian is developing the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The museum will be the only institution devoted exclusively to the documentation of African-American life, art, history and culture. Its exhibits will cover topics as varied as slavery, post-Civil War reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

Aflac, an insurance company based in Columbus, Ga., donated $1 million to the Smithsonian for the museum, making it the first Fortune 500 company to donate funds toward the landmark’s construction. Corporate donations like these are vital to the museum’s future success and timely presentation of the facility to the public.

“Aflac is proud to lead the way in contributing to this most worthy cause,” said Dan Amos, chairman and CEO of Aflac. “The museum will serve as a great way to spotlight America’s diverse history while honoring the African-American experience that has been instrumental in the development of our great nation.”

During the presentation of the check to the Smithsonian, Aflac was presented with a special smithsonite stone in honor of its gift to the museum. Further, Aflac was recognized with a special glass engraving of the company’s name that will be housed in the Benefactors Room of the Smithsonian, an honor designated for museum donors.

Aflac also is dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer and sponsors the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as part of its major philanthropic effort. The company has pledged more than $20 million to the center and over 66,000 plush Aflac Ducks have been sold, with proceeds benefiting the center.

In addition, Aflac sponsors other minority efforts in the community, such as the Hispanic Award for Business Entrepreneurship and The National Black Chamber of Commerce/Aflac Entrepreneur of the Year Award. To learn more, visit www.aflac.com.

Women Fear They’ll Have Little Gold in Their Golden Years

<b>Women Fear They’ll Have Little Gold in Their Golden Years</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Nearly 40 percent of women aged 30 to 55 are worried about spending their retirement years at or near the poverty level because they cannot adequately save for retirement, according to a recent survey.

The National Women’s 2005 Retirement Survey found that women of color are most concerned about their ability to save for retirement. While 53 percent of women of color report that they expect to live at or near the poverty level in their retirement years, just 33 percent of all men expect to face the same dilemma.

The survey was commissioned by the Heinz Family Philanthropies under the direction of Teresa Heinz, founder of the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement and chairman of the Heinz Family Philanthropies.

Here are some of the survey’s other key findings.

* Fifty-two percent of women expect to continue to work once they reach retirement age, including 57 percent of Hispanic women.

* Fifty-four percent of women have little to no money left to save for retirement once they pay their bills, rising to 62 percent among Hispanic and African-American women.

* When asked, “At the present time, do you feel that you are saving enough money for your retirement?” 62 percent of the women surveyed answered “no.” Among women of color, 74 percent of African-American and Hispanic women said they are not saving enough.

* When asked about barriers to saving for retirement, African-American women are more than twice as likely as white women to cite “financial responsibility for adult children or grandchildren” as a reason for not saving for retirement. Of the African-American women supporting their adult children or grandchildren, 63 percent report spending between $100 and $1,000 on them each month.

The Heinz Family Philanthropies commissioned this survey with the Christie Foundation, the Barbara Lee Foundation and others to identify the critical retirement savings issues facing women and to use the data to develop ways to help women secure their financial futures.

The survey polled 1,700 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

For more information about the Heinz Family Philanthropies, e-mail jlewis@heinzoffice.org.

Immediate Stroke Diagnosis Critical for Recovery

<b>Immediate Stroke Diagnosis Critical for Recovery</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Every minute, someone in the United States has a stroke. Of the 700,000 victims each year, one-third die, and another third suffer permanent paralysis, loss of speech or memory lapses.

The best way to minimize the effects of a stroke is to know the warning signs so the stroke victim can get immediate treatment. Warning signs include sudden weakness or numbness, specifically on one side of the body; dizziness or loss of coordination; sudden headache or nausea; confusion or difficulty speaking; and vision loss.

Are you at risk for a stroke? Making healthy lifestyle changes, like lowering blood pressure and not smoking, can help reduce your risk of stroke. Other risk factors include:

* Age. Chances of having a stroke more than doubles each decade after age 55.

* Gender. More women die of strokes than men.

* Race and heredity. Chances of stroke are greater with a family history of stroke. African-Americans and Hispanics are at higher risk for stroke than Caucasians.

* Sickle cell anemia. Sickled red blood cells are less able to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and organs. They also can stick to the walls of the blood vessels, which can block arteries to the brain, causing a stroke.

Upon experiencing stroke symptoms, individuals should immediately seek medical attention. Patients attended to within hours of a stroke have a much higher chance of effectively being diagnosed and treated.

Hospitals and trauma centers are equipped with sophisticated medical imaging equipment, like Toshiba’s Aquilion line of computed tomography scanners and the new Vantage magnetic resonance imaging system, which can help to quickly and accurately diagnose a stroke and assist in the proper treatment plan.

With this new equipment, physicians are able to locate and view the blockage in the arteries and then determine whether the treatment should be invasive or noninvasive. Typically, the location of the blockage dictates the course of treatment.

For more information about medical equipment used to diagnose a stroke, log on to www.medical.toshiba.com.

Changing Children’s Lives: A Woman’s Mission

<b>Changing Children’s Lives: A Woman’s Mission</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Life changed for Dorothy Samson in an Indian orphanage. Seeing the incredible needs of the children there, the Colorado resident knew she could make a difference.

So started a journey that led her to Compassion International and its unique child sponsorship program. Now, after just five years working with the ministry, 25 children count on Samson for prayers, letters and support.

“They crawl up into my lap; they call me ‘Auntie Dorothy,'” Samson said. “They are my children.”

Although Samson never had children of her own, that didn’t stop her from sharing her love and compassion with little ones.

“I always wanted to have 12 children with an abundance of boys,” Samson said.

From her home in Grand Junction, Samson began her Compassion sponsorship experience in 1999 with four children from India and one from Haiti. That number soon grew to 13 children, and she got that abundance of boys.

Later, when she learned that there was a need for sponsors for African children, she didn’t hesitate to take on even more.

“Compassion told me that there was a lack of sponsors for African children because of the HIV/AIDS problem,” Samson said. “I can understand people wanting to invest their money in children who are certain to grow up to be healthy, productive adults. But all children are precious, even those who might be HIV-positive. They aren’t responsible for having the disease – they are innocent victims, and they, too, deserve the opportunity to have a happy childhood and to be loved and cared for.”

Responding to the need, Samson sponsored 12 African children – eight of them in Uganda. And in September 2002, she spent five special days with “my youngsters,” as she refers to them. She treated her children to a game park, a safari and a boat ride to see hippos.

“Of course, the kids were so excited. They’d never seen animals in the wild or even taken a boat ride. It was wonderful to see their excitement,” Samson said.

Since she’s returned from Africa, Samson has had several opportunities to share her experience and tell others about her precious Ugandan children, several of whom have already had to deal with the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, having lost parents, siblings and other close relatives to the disease.

“I don’t know if any of my children have the disease,” Samson said. ” I pray that they do not. But it would never change how I feel about them. I love them as my own children. My hope for them is that they can have a happy childhood and become all they can be in Jesus – free from AIDS.”

When Compassion International opened its first projects in Uganda in 1980, the scourge of HIV/AIDS had not yet affected the world. Little did anyone know that only a few years later, many of the children Compassion serves in Uganda would battle the effects of this deadly, incurable disease. Compassion International currently ministers to more than 164,000 children in five countries in East Africa.

Compassion International partners with local churches to help implement development programs for children in their communities. To learn more, visit www.compassion.com or call 1-800-336-7676.