Elders learn about cardiac health in workshop

Located at a meeting room at the Hong Lok House Senior Center, around 40 elders joined a workshop “Cardiac Health for Women,” organized by the Chinese Women’s Association of New England at its March 6 meeting.

Two speakers attended the workshop, both employees of Arete Rehab, a rehabilitation center based in Salem serving older adults. One of the speakers, Kimberly Monette, Massachusetts Clinical Supervisor, talked about cardiac disease and ways to prevent it, and Nancy VanBenschoten, Director of Business Development, offered information about a healthy diet.

To take care of elders from Chinatown who are not fluent in English, Bess Lin, Program Director of Greater Boston Chinese Golden Age Center, served as the translator. During the Q&A session, the audience actively raised their hands to ask questions.

“By the time that we were 80 years old, our hearts has beaten 3 billion times, which means it works really hard during our lifetime,” Monette said. Even if people do all the things right, she added, the deterioration of the heart is inevitable, so people have increasingly higher risk of getting heart disease as time goes by.

Patients with other health ailments have a higher risk of getting cardio disease, she said. For example, 70 percent of first-time heart attack victims have hypertension, Monette said.

Diabetes is another huge cause of cardio disease. Monette posed a question to the audience, “What percentage of people do you think with diabetes end up dying of heart disease? Twenty percent, 35 percent, 65 percent or 80 percent?” One audience member said “Almost” triggering a burst of laughter. She is close, said Monette.  The answer is 65 percent, she answered.

China is the country with the highest number of diabetics worldwide, with around 116 million suffering from the disease, according to statistics.

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