Claire Spence, transitional care nurse in Kindred’s Indianapolis Integrated Care Market Claire Spence, transitional care nurse in Kindred’s Indianapolis Integrated Care Market


Looking for a good read? Forget about asking for recommendations on Facebook; if you’re a woman, pick up The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women, published by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, says Kindred nurse practitioner Claire Spence. Spence, a transitional care nurse in Kindred’s Indianapolis Integrated Care Market, has a special interest in matters of the heart and especially in helping women keep their hearts healthy.

“Every woman should read this book,” Spence says. It educates about risk factors and signs and symptoms of a problem, and includes vignettes about real women in a highly readable format, she says, and it includes life style modification recommendations including tips for losing weight, exercising, smoking cessation and getting healthier.

There are several prevalent misconceptions about heart disease in women, Spence says. How much do you know? Take the following short quiz.

A heart attack is heralded by crushing chest pain.

Not Always. “There are many different symptoms you can experience when your heart is not getting enough blood,” Spence says. Others include back pain and shortness of breath. In fact, she says, “anything that doesn’t feel right from your hips to your earlobes, especially that comes on with exertion, needs to be looked at by the doctor.”

Breast cancer is the biggest killer of women.

False. Says Spence: “One in four women will die from heart disease and one in 30 die from breast cancer. Many high-profile organizations have done a great job of raising awareness about breast cancer, but not everyone knows that women need to be very vigilant about heart disease, understand their risk factors and be aware of symptoms.”

Men are more likely to die from heart disease than women.

False. Women account for more than half of all deaths from heart disease annually.

If you are a woman under 50, you’re more likely to survive a heart attack.

False. Under age 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely to be fatal as men’s.

For more information about heart disease, visit The Heart Foundation.