February is Heart Health Month, and the physicians at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, are encouraging all patients to focus on their cardiovascular health, especially when it comes to protection from COVID-19. Coronavirus can be severe for patients with an underlying heart condition, and women especially often miss the subtle signs of a heart attack, making it a deadly combination. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. Because some symptoms in women resemble conditions like acid reflux or the flu, they are often overlooked.

“When it comes to taking care of your health, I remind my patients they need to pay attention to the signs that could save their lives,” said Dr. Omer Iftikhar, Lakeview Regional cardiologist. “The indications of heart attack can differ vastly in men and women, so taking care of themselves above all is important. The best first step is to visit your physician to discuss your concerns. Then, with a solid care plan in place, you can take charge of your health.” Dr. Iftikhar gives the following advice for all patients to keep or achieve a healthy heart: manage blood pressure, control cholesterol, reduce blood sugar, get active, eat better, lose weight, stop smoking, and get vaccinated.


Lakeview Regional offers a free heart health risk assessment tool online that provides more information about cardiovascular issues, calculates the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and prioritizes the most harmful risk factors. Upon completing the short assessment, a personalized, multi-paged report summarizing risk factors and recommended next steps is sent via email. For more specific information on heart issues in women, visit Lakeview Regional's women's heart health page.

“This year, in celebration of Heart Health Month, our employees are getting in shape and sharing their most unique fitness routines,” said Hiral Patel, Lakeview Regional CEO. “For added motivation, one lucky staff member will receive a prize for their entry. We encourage all employers to help their employees get more active this year. It benefits the whole community.”