Wanda English Burnett - Editor
It had to be big to keep Carol
Holzer from attending the Versailles Pumpkin Show for the first
time ever in her life! I could hear the festivities, but
couldnt attend, she noted as she remembered the
year she had a quadruple heart bypass the week before the fall
event that draws thousands to her hometown of Versailles where
she and husband, John, reside.
The only indication Holzer had that something was wrong was
a pressure or heaviness in her shoulders and shoulder-blade
area. It was not a stabbing pain that ran down my arm,
she emphasized, knowing thats what many people think would
signal a heart attack. She simply had a heaviness that she couldnt
Holzer has walked all of her life and could feel this heaviness
when she would be walking at the Versailles State Park in the
Spring of 2002. She said one day after walking up a hill, she
returned home and could barely breathe. That night she decided
if she lived until the morning she would call her doctor. When
she awoke, she knew it was time to act.
A call to the doctor and an EKG later, Holzer was well on her
way to having open heart surgery. You go straight to the
hospital, her doctor told her. She was put on monitors
and later that day asked, where do you want to have your
It all happened very quickly and the good part of the story
is Holzer never actually had a heart attack, alleviating damage.
She did have four blockages that were quickly taken care of
at the Columbus Regional Hospital. She was the eighth patient
after the surgery center had opened in September of that year.
A team from St. Frances Hospital, Indianapolis, came down to
Holzer says she has made lifestyle changes to include reducing
stress. I believe stress is a big factor, she noted.
She agrees with advice from doctors that women should get ample
exercise, eat fruits and vegetables, whole grain and high-fiber
foods and not smoke. Like many women, Holzer realizes the everyday
stress of work, family, numerous commitments that include committees
and organizations in which she is very active. Sometimes
you just have to cut back on things youre involved in,
About a year after her surgery, Holzer was cast in several media
commercials for the hospital. She was the picture of health
as she posed with kindergarten age students on billboards, was
published in newspapers and had television and radio spots.
She is most comfortable surrounded by children having taught
school for nearly 34 years, most all of that in the kindergarten
room. She still teaches at South Ripley.
Guidelines for the heart disease risk among women have recently
been updated and are now measured by the long-term view of heart
disease prevention. We took a long-term view of heart
disease prevention because the lifetime risk of dying of cardiovascular
disease (CVD) is nearly one in three for women. This underscores
the importance of healthy lifestyles in women of all ages to
reduce the long-term risk of heart and blood vessel diseases,
wrote Lori Mosca, M.D., Ph.D., director of preventive cardiology
at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is also the chair of
the American Heart Association expert panel that wrote the guidelines.
The new guidelines recommend lifestyle factors such as physical
activity, nutrition and smoking cessation, and more in-depth
recommendations on drug treatments for blood pressure and cholesterol
Aspirin is highly recommended for women to take to prevent strokes,
according to the new guidelines. Women are urged to ask their
doctors about taking aspirin. Menopausal therapies such as hormone
replacement therapy (HRT) or selective estrogen receptor modulators
(SERMs) such as raloxifene or tamoxifene should not be used
to prevent heart disease because they have been shown to be
ineffective in protecting the heart and could increase the risk
of stroke, according to Mosca. She continued, The new
guidelines reinforce that unregulated dietary supplements are
not a method proven to prevent heart disease...folic acid is
ineffective to protect the heart despite widespread use by patients
and physicians hoping for a heart benefit.
Statistics show that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the largest
single cause of mortality among women, accounting for 38 percent
of all female deaths.
The new study shows that nearly all women are at risk
for CVD, underscoring the importance of heart-healthy lifestyle
in everyone. Some women are at significant risk of future heart
attack or stroke because they already have CVD and/or multiple
risk factors. Now physicians are recommending more aggressive
lifestyle changes to reduce risk in all women. Saying medicine
is still an art but these guidelines are meant to guide health
care professionals on the best science available. (See
related article for guidelines)
Locally, a Spirit of Women (Day of Dance) event is scheduled
for Saturday, February 24 at the Greensburg Elementary School
from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The second annual Day of Dance for
Cardiovascular Health is sponsored by the Decatur County Memorial
Hospital and promotes womens heart health.
Information from the hospital notes that 63 percent of women
who die suddenly from coronary disease show no previous symptoms.
Day of Dance is an opportunity for women to receive free preliminary
health screenings, letting them know if they need to seek additional
medical care. Call Amanda Wolsiffer for additional information
on the event at 812-663-1389.
Also, the South Ripley Heartbeats Health Festival is set for
March 3 from 8:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the South Ripley
High School, 1589 S. Benham Road, Versailles. Blood chemistry
will be available for $25.00 and PSA for $10.00. Call Nurse
Mary Krumm for additional information at 812-689-5383. This
is another excellent opportunity to obtain medical screenings
for heart health.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT
Mrs. Carol Holzer, kindergarten teacher at South Ripley
Elementary, pauses for a photo from her busy workday.
She knows first hand the importance of following through
when you feel like something is wrong with your body.
She underwent a quadruple heart surgery after experiencing
a "heaviness" in her shoulder blade area and
calling her doctor. She has made a full recovery and is
thankful for the opportunity to share her experience with