Spectrum Health Offers Heart Disease “True/False” Test

Promoting Heart Health during Heart Month

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 13, 2018 – During February –Heart Month– there are messages everywhere about the importance of maintaining optimal heart health. Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, heart disease should be taken seriously by everyone.

An expert from Spectrum Health says that, even with efforts to increase awareness, there is still misinformation out there about heart disease.

“Unfortunately, most people don’t educate themselves about heart disease until they are forced to,” said Milena Jani, MD, cardiologist, Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center. “It is very common to meet someone whose first inkling that they were at risk came when they were on their way to the emergency department with a suspected cardiac issue.”

People should take the time to evaluate potential risk factors in their lives, says Dr. Jani. Common risk factors for heart disease include being overweight, a family history of heart disease, tobacco use and high blood pressure.

In honor of heart awareness month, Spectrum Health offers the following “true/false test”:

  1. A heart attack means your heart has stopped working.
  2. Approximately one woman every minute dies of heart disease
  3. Heart disease doesn’t run in my family so I am at less risk.
  4. Nearly half of Americans have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  5. Heart disease impacts men more than women.
  6. Women under the age of 50 are twice as likely to die of a heart attack as men of the same age.
  7. I’m fine because I don’t have any symptoms.
  8. Half of the people who have a heart attack die from it.


  1. FALSE: A heart attack means that the blood flow to the heart has been cut off or diminished to a portion of the heart. The heart itself is still working unless the patient goes into cardiac arrest when the heart stops beating altogether.
  2. TRUE: Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women (1 in 3 deaths each year.)
  3. TRUE: People with a family history of heart disease are at higher risk, however, unhealthy lifestyles can increase your risk of heart disease.
  4. TRUE: 49% of Americans have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and/ smoke – all key risk factors for heart disease.
  5. TRUE: Heart disease kills more men than women – but not by much and women are catching up.
  6. TRUE: Women don’t recognize the symptoms of heart attacks because they are different from that of men. So, unfortunately, they wait longer to seek the help they need that could save their life.
  7. FALSE: Not all coronary heart disease presents with symptoms. And when there are symptoms, they are often misunderstood, particularly for women.
  8. FALSE: Because people recognize the vital importance of getting emergency care quickly, only 15% of people who have a heart attack die from it.

For more information about heart disease, visit

Dr. Milena Jani and colleagues William Merhi, DO, FACC, Andre Gauri, MD, FHRS, and Edward Murphy, MD, will present a free dinner presentation on heart health on Thursday, February 22 at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. Registration information available at



People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our long and continuing legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Our award-winning team improves health, inspires hope and saves lives across 13 counties in West Michigan. We bring together 11 hospitals—including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, with expert care from 350+ pediatric specialists in 70+ specialties and programs—three rehabilitation and nursing centers, 120 outpatient sites and telehealth services. We are proud to work with 4,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, including Spectrum Health Medical Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive multispecialty physician groups in West Michigan.

Sarina Gleason
Media Relations
Phone: 517.256.5618