Miner Photo/LINDA STELP
Mary Mazelin, a volunteer for the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center, says she feels better and has cut her medication by a third since suffering a heart attack three years ago.
A Kingman cardiologist says heart attack risk increases substantially for women at menopause but that risk can be heightened by behavior during teen years.
Ray Mazelin drove his wife to a doctor's office, where they were told to go immediately to the emergency room of Kingman Regional Medical Center.
Mazelin was diagnosed and treated for congestive heart failure and sent home with prescriptions for 21 pills for problems with her heart, blood pressure, stress level and gout.
The board of directors treasurer of the Kathryn Heidenreich Adult Center, Mazelin now takes only six pills a day and says she feels pretty good, despite the stress of losing her husband to cancer last September.
Michelle Hall, the manager of education at KRMC and a certified critical care nurse, said it is not unusual for women not to recognize symptoms leading to heart failure or a stroke.
"Women who have a heart attack are more likely to die than a man," Hall said.
"It could be that they don't take the symptoms seriously, or the doctors don't."
The American Heart Association has designated February as Heart Month so that people become aware that heart disease is a serious problem for women of all ages, Hall said.
In fact, she added, cardiovascular disease is the No.
1 killer of women, surpassing even breast cancer.
"Women need to be aware, and change their risk factors before they get older," Hall said.
"Women need to keep active throughout their life to maintain their health.
Inactivity is once of the leading risk factors."
Other risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Hall, who has seen a number of 40- to 50-year-old women in the hospital after a heart attack, said women may not always have the classic symptoms such as crushing chest pain that a man usually experiences before a heart attack.
A woman often shows more subtle signs such as fatigue and dizziness that tend to be ignored, she explained.
Paul Kalanith, a Kingman cardiologist, said more women die of heart disease than any other reason.
"Put in perspective, of all causes of death, one in every three dies of heart disease," Kalanith said.
"Even if a women doesn't die, she can become disabled and experience a significant decrease in the quality of life."
Kalanith explained that women are less likely than men to believe that they are actually having heart attacks and more likely to delay in seeking emergency treatment.
Kalanith said it is a misconception to assume that women don't have heart attacks.
Statistics from the year 2000 show that 366,000 women died of heart disease and 103,000 died of a stroke.
During the same year 42,000 women died of breast cancer.
The statistics are proportional for years since, he said.
Each year 1.1 million Americans have a heart attack, and off those 460,000 are fatal.
Half of those deaths occur the first hour after the first symptoms, Kalanith said.
"Whatever a woman's age is, she should start thinking about protecting herself against heart disease.
It start's as early as teenage years," he said.
"During mid-life, the risk of heart disease starts to rise dramatically."
One of the biggest risk factors for young women is inactivity because physical activity drops dramatically when girls become teens, the doctor said.
Fourteen percent of young woman are physically inactive, and 15 percent of girls 6 to 19 are overweight with a body mass index greater than 25.
In addition, 30 percent of girls in grades 9 through 12 smoke, dramatically increasing their risk of developing heart disease at some point in their lives, Kalanith said.
Once a woman reaches menopause, the heart disease risk begins to increase significantly.
Lifestyle changes can decrease the risks of heart disease by as much as 82 percent.
All women should ask themselves what their risks are and work to reduce risks such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, lack of physical activity and diabetes, which will increase the risk of heart disease by three times or more.
"This is a preventable disease," Kalanith said.
"Every time a woman has a stroke or a heart attack it is like society and the medical profession failed.
"It should not happen.
It is totally preventable and treatable."
Small amounts of nitrates in Kingman wastewater may force the building of a new downtown treatment facility.
Public works director Jack Kramer told the Kingman City Council at Monday's capital budget session that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is likely to require sometime during the next year that a new facility be built.
"We have been carrying a $2.6 million line item in the budget for three years in case ADEQ insists we replace the downtown system," Kramer said.
"We have kept an application at the state funding agency for financing."
The current facility is old and located in a canyon that leads through Holy Moses Wash to the Sacramento Wash in Golden Valley and eventually to the Colorado River.
In the past ADEQ has expressed concern that overflow might reach the Colorado River somewhere in the vicinity of Topoc.
Kramer said he has been looking for an alternative site but has not settled on an appropriate place.
A vote of the city residents would be required and the loan would be repaid from user fees paid by customers on the sewer system.
The city's other wastewater facility, the Hilltop plant near Kingman Airport, was built in 1993 for $7 million and will be paid off in 2012 through user fees.
The City Council was advised by Kramer that the first nitrates were found in the outflow at the Hilltop facility, which raised red flags with ADEQ even though ground filtration to the aquifer nearly a 1,000 feet below would clear any contaminates before hitting water.
A study of the cost of treating the wastewater in a facility that would produce water usable for either recharge of the aquifer or for golf course irrigation was discussed.
Developers of the Long Mountain project across near the airport have proposed using the treated water from the Hilltop plant for a golf course and allowing the city to use potable water from a well drilled for Long Mountain housing.
Research indicates the drinking water from a well is cheaper than reusable water from the wastewater system.
Tom Carter, part of the Long Mountain team, said water conservation is important to John Lingenfelter, the principal partner in the development.
A golf course would unlikely be built if high-quality well water must be used to irrigate it, Carter said.
City Manager Roger Swenson said the long-range conservation of the water may cost more now but become a good investment as water becomes more expensive and in shorter supply.
A second consideration is the capacity of the Hilltop plant with rapid growth in the Kingman area.
The information could indicate the rapid growth will require expansion of Hilltop or building a different kind of treatment facility.
Currently, the biological system works with little maintenance and repair and at a low staffing level.
That would not be true of an expanded plant with more wastewater treatment required.
The City Council would decide the policy direction.