Mon Health reminds that February is Heart Month

WESTON — February is Heart Month – an opportunity for the staff of Mon Health to educate the public about healthy heart choices and to make a difference in a patient’s life. The importance of Heart Month is not lost on Lewis County resident Katherine Trefz.

Katherine’s first recognition of her cardiac issue was while she was working at Weston’s Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church on a Sunday in 2014. As Katherine and her friend, Janice Woofter, prepared the altar for services, Janice could tell something wasn’t right. Luckily, Janice is a nurse and knew the warning signs of heart attacks in women. Despite Katherine’s objections, Janice had her taken to Weston’s Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital.

“Apparently I was having a heart attack but there was no pain,” Katherine said. “My blood pressure was over 200. The next thing I realized that I had a stent put in and everything was done before I knew it.”

Like many women experiencing a heart attack, Katherine’s symptoms were not typical. She did not feel extreme chest pain, yet one of her arteries was 90% blocked. 

The American Heart Association notes that women having a heart attack may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure, or extreme fatigue. Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesn’t get help right away. Though heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States, they often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu, or normal aging.

Since her attack, Katherine has had no problems, but she decided to visit a cardiologist to stay on top of her heart health. She chose Dr. Bradford Warden, a cardiologist at Mon Health Heart and Vascular Center, with offices in Morgantown, Weston, Elkins, Parsons, Fairmont, Grafton, Kingwood and McHenry, Md.

“One of my friends suggested that I go to Dr. Warden and I am glad I did. I liked him immediately at the first visit. He listened to me and made eye-to-eye contact,” said Katherine.

Dr. Warden is executive director of the Mon Health Heart & Vascular Center and chief of cardiology at Mon Health Heart and Vascular Center. He is a board-certified interventional cardiologist with decades of experience. 

“Dr. Warden is an excellent cardiologist. I am delighted that he comes to the Mon Health Heart and Vascular Center in Weston,” Katherine said. “It makes it quite convenient for me. He is very knowledgeable and most importantly, he talks to his patient and listens.”

Katherine has continued to stay healthy and controls her salt intake. Because of Dr. Warden’s guidance, she has tested her kidney function and feels much healthier than before. He was also able to help Katherine control the swelling in her feet.

Katherine is fortunate when considering the heart health of her Lewis County neighbors. The health statistics for the county are sobering but none more than in the areas of heart disease. The rate of ischemic heart disease among Lewis Countians is well above the West Virginia and national averages. The condition refers to heart problems caused by narrowed heart arteries that supply blood to the heart. The rate of the disease for Lewis County women is 234.7 in 100,000, almost twice as bad for women in the United States. Ischemic heart disease was the leading cause of death for West Virginians in 2019.

The Mon Health Heart and Vascular Center is a nationally recognized program providing the latest advancements in cardiovascular care to a community hospital setting offering patients the expertise and comfort they deserve. From diagnostics to surgery, the Center uses a comprehensive approach focused on personalized care and exceptional outcomes.