By: Mary Bransford | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: February 2007
Dr. Michelle Fugitt
According to the American Heart Association, about 480,000 women die of cardiovascular disease annually, more than the total number of cardiovascular disease-related deaths in men or the next four causes of death combined. Overall, coronary heart disease is America’s number 1 killer. Stroke is number 3 and a leading cause of disability. That’s why Dr. Michelle Fugitt wants you to know the warning signs, risk factors and how you can live a happy healthy life and avoid heart disease.
Heart attack symptoms differ greatly in women than men. Educating women to symptoms they may experience is a prime concern of Dr. Fugitt. While some heart attacks are sudden and intense – where you don’t doubt what’s happening - some start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. She states that some women will have signs such as pain in their back or nausea and vomiting when having a heart attack. Other warning signs include shortness of breath, lightheadedness, chest discomfort, pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Risk factors include two categories modifiable and non-modifiable. “While you cannot change your family history, gender or age you can be heart smart by exercising, eating right, not smoking and have routine physical exams,” said Dr. Fugitt. She says a good place to start would be with a physical examination before you begin to modify your lifestyle. A routine exam will help identify your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. “Sometimes you do not have symptoms of blood pressure or cholesterol problems, so knowing your numbers are an important part in keeping your heart healthy. High LDL cholesterol has been associated with increased risk of heart disease and can be determined through blood work during your exam and improved with medication and diet modification.”
“If you smoke, you should stop,” emphasized Dr. Fugitt. “There are new options now available that have been introduced in the last six months such as Chantix. This is a twice a day pill that smokers begin taking one week before they stop smoking. It has shown to be about twice as effective as other options.”
Obesity is another modifiable risk factor for heart disease that can be helped through increased activity and diet changes. Dr. Fugitt can offer you advice about short-term medications that are available to improve your weight-loss; and surgical options for those suffering from morbid obesity.
A routine exam to screen for risk factors should be done every year. This exam covers testing your blood pressure; basic lab work to identify blood counts, kidney, liver and thyroid function, cholesterol, and blood sugar; as well as, recommendations on vitamins and activity levels.
Dr. Fugitt received her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency in internal medicine at the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas in Ft. Worth, Texas. She is board certified in internal medicine and a member of the American Osteopathic Association, American College of Osteopathic Internists, and Oklahoma State University Alumni association.
Her goal is to provide the best possible healthcare by forming partnerships with her patients. Her office is staffed by women who are friendly and understanding of your needs. She cares for acute problems such as allergies and sore throats, preventive medicine, and chronic conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Dr. Fugitt’s office is located at 87th and Garnett in the Berkshire Medical Plaza. She welcomes new patients and appointments are scheduled Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. till 5 p.m.; and Friday from 8:30 a.m. till noon.