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Mount Sinai South Nassau Patient’s Advice on “National Go Red for Women Day”

Take Heart Healthy Seriously. Know Your Symptoms and Receive Annual Screenings.

Posted: Feb. 3, 2023
Mount Sinai South Nassau Patient’s Advice on “National Go Red for Women Day”

Proclaiming that “heart health is not to be taken for granted,” Beverly Gilchrist-Hobson, 55, of Freeport, urged women in attendance at Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Annual Go Red for Women Day celebration held Friday, February 3, to schedule an annual check-up with a cardiologist.

This is a life lesson that Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson learned the hard way.

For months, Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson had been experiencing mysterious periods of fatigue and shortness of breath. Although concerned, the high-energy, fitness-conscious crime victim advocate chalked up her symptoms to a hectic lifestyle and job stress.

If Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson had been aware at the time, however, that recurrent fatigue and shortness of breath are two of the most common symptoms of high blood pressure (or hypertension) in women she would have scheduled an appointment to see her physician.  Instead, she eventually found herself at Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Emergency Department, weakened and struggling to catch her breath.  

“I thought I had COVID-19 or an infection,” she recalled.

Like many women with cardiac issues, Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson had symptoms that did not match those of men or what many consider signs of heart problems, such as chest pain. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. Ninety percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease.

Mount Sinai South Nassau Go Red Day

Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson’s blood pressure was tested and it registered high. That was followed by a chest X-ray, which showed fluid in her lungs, and an electrocardiogram (EKG) that detected weakness in her heart’s electrical conduction system.

Mount Sinai South Nassau cardiologist Sherry Megalla, MD, was consulted and ordered medication to lower Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson’s blood pressure and admitted her to the hospital for more advanced diagnostic testing, including a heart sonogram, CT scan of her brain and lungs, an angiogram, and an ejection fraction (a test that measures the percentage of blood in the heart that is pumped out with each heartbeat). Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson’s ejection fraction was low—an indicator of heart failure.

 Ultimately, Dr. Megalla diagnosed hypertension as the cause of Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson’s symptoms. Contrary to popular belief that it rarely affects women, the AHA says that nearly half of all adults with high hypertension are women. Dr. Megalla prescribed a low-sodium diet, ongoing blood pressure testing, and the 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program provided by Mount Sinai South Nassau Cardiac Rehabilitation (which is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation).  

Fully recovered, Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson said, “I didn’t realize the importance of heart function…I thought I’m relatively youthful, I didn’t have chest pains, so I downplayed it.  Now, I understand that having my heart checked is as important as my annual mammogram and PAP smear.”

Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Go Red for Women Day celebration was held in collaboration with AHA- Long Island Chapter with the shared mission of raising awareness of heart disease as the leading cause of death in women and to dispel the perception that it is only occurs in men. Mount Sinai South Nassau is the Life is Why hospital sponsor of the American Heart Association on Long Island.  

In addition to Ms. Gilchrist-Hobson’s passionate testimony of her bout with hypertension, the celebration featured Q&A sessions with Dr. Megalla and Dr. Pilar Stevens-Haynes, free blood pressure screenings, information and education on preventing heart disease; and advice and information on smoking cessation.

Mount Sinai South Nassau Go Red Day

Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Community Education Department (call 516-377-5333 for more information) has booked a month-long schedule of community-based prevention and education programs that it is hosting and participating in as part the hospital’s Go Red for Women and American Heart Health Month celebration:

  • Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 12-2pm
    Q&A Table (Dr. Pilar Stevens-Haynes)
    Nassau County Senior Birthdays at the Barn in Old Bethpage

  • Monday, February 13, 2023, 1-2pm
    American Heart Association’s Blood Pressure Program and Blood Pressure Screenings
    with Mount Sinai South Nassau Community Education
    Roosevelt Library

  • Tuesday, February 14, 2023, 11am-12pm
    Blood Pressure Screenings
    Hispanic Brotherhood in Rockville Centre

  • Wednesday, February 15, 2023, 2-3pm
    Speaker-Heart Health by Dr. Pilar Stevens-Haynes
    Freeport Library (open to the public)

  • Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 11am-12pm
    Speaker-Heart Health by Dr. Pilar Stevens-Haynes
    Hispanic Brotherhood in Hempstead (for 15-30 Seniors)

  • Monday, February 27, 2023, 3pm
    Speaker-Managing blood pressure and cholesterol by Dr. Sherry Megalla
    The Oaks, Senior Housing in Massapequa

  • Tuesday, February 28, 2023, 7-9pm
    Speaker-Heart Health by Dr. Raul Mendoza
    Adult Program at the Alverta B Gray Schultz Middle School in Hempstead

Designated a 4-star achiever by the American College of Cardiology and ranked “High Performing” in heart failure and heart attack by US News & World Report, Mount Sinai South Nassau is accredited by the Intersocietal Commission for Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories; is designated an Aetna Institute of Quality for interventional cardiology and rhythm disease diagnosis and treatment; and has The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for its heart failure program. Mount Sinai South Nassau is the only Long Island location of the internationally acclaimed Mount Sinai Heart program of The Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

About Mount Sinai South Nassau
The Long Island flagship hospital of the Mount Sinai Health System, Mount Sinai South Nassau is designated a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) for outstanding nursing care. Mount Sinai South Nassau is one of the region’s largest hospitals, with 455 beds, more than 900 physicians and 3,500 employees. Located in Oceanside, New York, the hospital is an acute-care, not-for-profit teaching hospital that provides state-of-the-art care in cardiac, oncologic, orthopedic, bariatric, pain management, mental health, and emergency services and operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County, along with Long Island’s only free-standing Emergency Department in Long Beach.

In addition to its extensive outpatient specialty centers, Mount Sinai South Nassau provides emergency and elective angioplasty, and offers Novalis Tx™ and Gamma Knife® radiosurgery technologies. Mount Sinai South Nassau operates the only Trauma Center on the South Shore of Nassau County verified by the American College of Surgeons as well as Long Island’s only free-standing, 9-1-1 receiving Emergency Department in Long Beach. Mount Sinai South Nassau also is a designated Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health and Comprehensive Community Cancer Center by the American College of Surgeons; is an accredited center of the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Association and Quality Improvement Program; and an Infectious Diseases Society of America Antimicrobial Stewardship Center of Excellence.
For more information, go to www.mountsinai.org/southnassau.