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A program designed to help women across southeastern Kentucky improve their heart health kicked off in mid-June with more than 60 participants. Meetings are held once a month at King’s Daughters Medical Specialties Prestonsburg.

“The goal of From the Heart is to empower women to take better care of their hearts and, by extension, their families,” said Debbie Miller, KDMC’s manager of community relations. During the first session, the women, who received a baseline heart health screening prior to the start of the group sessions, learned about their results and risk factors.

Cardiologist Vaughn Payne, M.D., was guest speaker. The group is led by cardiac nurse practitioner Terri Hall, APRN.

During the course of eight months, women will gain in-depth knowledge about their risk factors and steps they can take to overcome them; other factors that affect heart disease, such as stress and depression, menopause and birth control; making a family plan for heart health; diet and nutrition; exercise; and women’s unique heart attack signs and symptoms.

Heart-health related incentives, such as T-shirts, healthy cookbooks, and more will be available to women who actively participate in the program. Women who complete the program will celebrate in February with a banquet and awards.

The group’s next meeting will be July 25 with internal medicine physician John Furcolow, M.D., speaking about nutrition, diabetes and heart disease.

“There’s still room for interested women living in Floyd, Johnson, Magoffin or Martin and surrounding counties to join From the Heart,” Miller said. Information about the program and how to enroll is available by calling 1-888-377-KDMC.

The program is sponsored by a grant from the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health as part of a public-private partnership with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to promote The Heart Truth, a women’s heart health awareness and action campaign. Funding is provided by individuals and corporations including The Heart Truth partners Belk Department Stores, Diet Coke and Swarovski.

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