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Panel Focuses on New Face of Heart Disease

February 1, 2013 2:53 p.m.

Heart disease has many faces. It’s not just something that happens to older men. It can and does affect a striking number of both men and women of all ages and races.

People with heart disease can appear healthy. In fact, half of the men and almost two-thirds of the women who die suddenly of coronary artery disease have no previous coronary artery disease warning signs. Even if you have no symptoms, you may still be at risk for heart disease.

That’s why Sarah Bush Lincoln is hosting a panel of experts to explain and discuss “The New Face of Heart Disease.” Learn ways to protect yourself against heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S., while enjoying a free soup and sandwich supper. The general public is invited to this free event, which is set for 5:30 to 7:30 pm, Wednesday, February 27, in the Lumpkin Family Center for Health Education. Those attending can also register to win a free ipad2.

Following dinner, Prairie Heart Cardiologist Roberto Pacheco-Coronado, MD, will discuss the main topic “The New Face of Heart Disease,” and serve as the event moderator. The panel will also include brief presentations by the following experts and topics: Registered Dietitian Gwen Zumwalt, “Portion Distortion;” Exercise Physiologist Lori Richardson, “Kick it Up a Notch: Adding Core and More;” Certified Diabetic Educator Paula Enstrom, RN, “Diabesity: the Link Between Diabetes, Obesity and Heart Disease;” and SBL Clinical Social Worker Richard McDade, “The Psychology Behind Changing Behaviors.” The panel is also available to answer questions from audience members.

The event is being sponsored by Monitored Exercise & Testing Services (METS) at Sarah Bush Lincoln, which offers cardiac rehabilitation services. “It’s important for people to know that heart disease can strike at any time and at any age,” SBL Exercise Specialist and event coordinator Karyn Cole said. “Twenty years ago, METS staff members would see men in their 50s, 60s and 70s with heart attacks, and women a decade later. Today we are seeing men and women in their 30s and 40s with heart events.”

While the risks increase with age, the early signs of heart disease can begin in childhood. “More and more young people are affected by heart disease, in part because diabetes and obesity are on the rise,” Cole said. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. But the good news is that many of these risk factors can be minimized, meaning you can lower your risk for heart disease with several lifestyle changes.

Physical inactivity and obesity are the two risk factors affecting most Americans. So, getting more physical activity and eating a balanced heart-healthy diet might be a good starting place for most people, Cole said. For more information or to register for “The New Face of Heart Disease” panel discussion, please call (217) 258- 2420 or email


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