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



Spectrum Health, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,200 medical staff experts, 3,200 committed volunteers and a health plan serving 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 220 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $459 million in community benefit in the last fiscal year. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $30 million in philanthropy in the most recent fiscal year to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

Susan Krieger
Media Relations
Office: 616.391.5541
Mobile: 616.307.7880