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Heart Disease is a Family Matter

Susan Mani, MD Susan Mani, M.D.
Director, Women's Cardiac Program
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Western Connecticut Medical Group Cardiologist Discusses Family History of Heart Disease

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in the United States for both men and women, and so most families will know of a family member with a history of heart attack. "Heart disease or the presence of plaque in the coronary arteries is more likely to occur with certain risk factors such as increasing age, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and having a sedentary lifestyle," said Dr. Susan Mani, Western Connecticut Medical Group Cardiologist and director of the Women's Cardiac Program at Danbury Hospital.

According to Dr. Mani, having a family history of heart disease is only considered a significant risk factor if the heart disease occurred prematurely in a first-degree relative. "For example, premature heart disease is considered a male first degree relative (father or brother) with their diagnosis of coronary disease before age 55 or female first degree relative (mother or sister) with their diagnosis of coronary disease before age 65," noted Dr. Mani.

"If you were diagnosed with heart disease make your children or your children's pediatrician aware of the age of your diagnosis since that may have an impact on how and when some of your child's risk factors, such as their cholesterol, are treated," added Dr. Mani. "Most heart disease is preventable and so the approach continues to be evaluation and management of risk factors - with a healthy diet, consistent exercise and quitting smoking."

It's never too late to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Incorporating positive behavioral and lifestyle changes is also beneficial to children since they are more likely to follow your lead and help reduce their own risk in the long run.

For more information regarding cardiac programs and services, go to DanburyHeart.org, or to find a cardiologist in your area call 1-800-516-4743.

About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by two nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the two hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes the following affiliates:

  • Western Connecticut Medical Group, an integrated physician practice with primary and specialty care expertise
  • Western Connecticut Home Care, an agency for home care and community health services
  • The Western Connecticut Health Network Foundations
  • emergency medical and Level II trauma services
  • an occupational wellness and medicine program, providing services for business and industry
  • a nationally renowned Biomedical Research Institute

Western Connecticut Health Network has centers of excellence in women's health, cardiovascular and cancer services; minimally invasive joint and spine surgery; digestive disorders, weight-loss (bariatric) surgery, and radiology and diagnostic imaging. It also offers specialized programs for neonatology with a Level IIIb neonatal intensive care unit and accredited sleep disorder centers. Both hospitals also maintain active clinical research programs, offering clinical trials for patients with cancer and other health concerns. Danbury Hospital was named a Top 100 Hospital by US News and World reports in 2012; a and a Top 100 for Value by Cleverly and Associates. New Milford Hospital is well known as a Planetree hospital and for its Plow to Plate, farm to table food program.

For more information, visit WesternConnecticutHealthNetwork.org, DanburyHospital.org; NewMilfordHospital.org and share your comments with us at Facebook.com/DanburyHospital or Facebook.com/NewMilfordHospital.

Date posted - 03/20/2013