Program aimed at heart health

Published 11:57 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in this state.

Alabama’s cardiologists want to change that statistic.

To educate the public on preventing and reducing heart disease, cardiologists have teamed with the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch to talk about heart disease including the effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke in a series of public forums around the state.

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A forum has been scheduled for today, March 25, at the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital at 6 p.m.

Program coordinator Niko Phillips said Tuscaloosa cardiologist Dr. Anne Lewis will be on hand to speak about cardiovascular disease and death rates in Alabama, followed by a public forum on the benefits of a smoke-free state. Tobacco use and secondhand smoke can be a factor in heart disease and cardiac mortality rates.

The Alabama Chapter of the American College of Cardiology launched its “Assault on Alabama Cardiovascular Mortality” project to get the word out about cardiovascular mortality rates in the state. According to Dee Mooty, executive director of the Alabama Chapter of the American College of Cardiology, this pilot program was designed by the cardiologists with a grant from the national office.

“Alabama has the fourth highest death rate for heart disease and the seventh highest death rate for stroke in the U.S.,” she said. “The cardiologists want to go out and talk about how serious this problem really is.”

Refreshments will be served at the meeting.