Linking up with the Women's Health Network

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Heart disease is the number one killer of American women.  That's why early screenings for risk factors are so important.  In this Healthcast, we tell you how the Women's Health Network is stepping in to empower women to take control of their health.

For the past 15 years, Kay Barnett hasn't missed her annual routine health check-ups.  "I decided a number of years ago that I just needed to stay educated about the status of my health," says Kay.

But when she started to experience the peaks and troughs from blood sugar changes, Kay knew she needed more than a routine exam.  "I was having some changes," she says, "especially with my blood sugar and so I was looking for resources for women to help look at how to deal with their health."

That resource for Kay was the Women's Health Network at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital - a free network for women dedicated to improving their total health.  Registered Nurse Serena Goodwin says, "The Women's Health Network is an organization that the hospital started so that we can gear toward cardiac health for women."

Goodwin says the network offers support for women and opportunities for health screenings that could detect a wide range of health problems.  "We can also make referrals to where they need to be," says Goodwin, "we work with the cardiologists here in Lake Charles and sometimes we've had ladies we've actually had to send across the street for additional testing."

When Kay had the comprehensive heartfelt screening last month - which included a physical, dietary screening, labs and an EKG, test results showing that she was borderline diabetic pushed her to make lifestyle changes.  "I never really realized that I didn't know how to eat right!" says Kay.

Part of the screening process involves a 30-minute session with a dietitian. Goodwin says little changes like knowing nutritional values of food and where your "numbers" are with blood pressure and cholesterol could be the key to preventing heart disease.  "If you make the right health choices, you can prevent problems in your later years," says Goodwin.

*Click here to join the Women's Health Network.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)