By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A heart attack is number one cause of death in women in the United States, but many people are unaware of that fact, according to Dr. Robert Frankel, a cardiac specialist affiliated with Maimonides Medical Center. Frankel said that when he speaks in public forums, he often asks the women in the audience what they think the leading cause of death is. Breast cancer and ovarian cancer are mentioned by the women before heart attacks, he said.
“The number one killer of women is heart disease,” Frankel, director of interventional cardiology at the hospital, said.
In an effort to educate the public on the dangers of heart disease, Frankel and other medical experts are teaming up with Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) to host a cardiac symposium in Bay Ridge. The forum will also feature a discussion on the dangers of strokes.
The symposium will take place on Monday, Oct. 15, at Holy Angels Catholic Academy, 337 74th St., from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The event will include dinner.
Frankel and two other experts, Dr. Robert Rhee, clinical director of vascular services at the University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Steven Rudolph, director of the Jaffe Stroke Center at Maimonides Medical Center will be the speakers at the symposium.
Malliotakis held a press conference at Holy Angels Catholic Academy on Oct. 4 to announce the upcoming symposium.
The goal of the forum is to inform the public on the warning signs of cardiac disease and stroke, and discuss ways to prevent them from happening, Malliotakis and Frankel said. “I want to get the word out on the street to people,” Frankel said.
“Bay Ridge is heavily populated with senior citizens. It is important we have this type of program,” Maliotakis said. But Malliotkais quickly added that younger residents could also benefit from the information. “This is not just for seniors, but for young people too,” she said.
While the death rate from cardiac disease has declined in recent years, according to Malliotakis, who cited disturbing statistics from health agencies. In the U.S. each year, 920,000 people suffer heart attacks and of those, 250,000 people die. “Half of them are under the age of 65,” she said. In New York City in 2009, the most recent year statistics are available from, 20,000 people died of heart attacks. Another 14,000 died of strokes.
Prevention methods include knowing the risk factor, Frankel said. If a parent or a sibling had heart disease, then a person is more susceptible, he said. “If you have risk factors, you should know your cholesterol level,” he said, adding that a trip to the doctor to have the cholesterol checked would be a good idea.
Other ways to help prevent heart disease include exercise and proper diet, Frankel said.
Heart attack symptoms differ in men and women. “On television, we’ve seen shows where the person clutches their chest and collapses to the floor. What we see on television doesn’t always happen,” Frankel said. In some cases, the patient suffers shortness of breath, or a stomach pain that feels like an ulcer or food poisoning, he said.
“Understanding the symptoms will help,” Frankel said.
The symposium has room for 200 people and reservations are required to attend. For more information, call 718-283-8832.