Dr. Uma Krishnan is a champion for women’s heart health
In February, hearts rule. While the shape immediately calls to mind all things Valentine’s Day, the second month of the year is also a time when the United States spotlights the risks of cardiovascular disease and prevention.
MultiCare Pulse Heart Institute’s Uma Krishnan, MD, recently spoke about her efforts to expand cardiovascular awareness and increase access to heart care in South King County.
Raising awareness for heart health
Dr. Krishnan started her work with the Cardiac Study Center in 2002 and joined MultiCare Pulse Heart Institute when it opened in 2016.
As Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation Services and Prevention COE Dyad Partner for Pulse in the Puget Sound region, she provides comprehensive cardiology care, with services ranging from exercise treadmill and nuclear stress tests to interpreting echocardiograms in hospitals and outpatient settings.
Dr. Krishnan also sees education and outreach as a critical component of her job. She and her team actively raise awareness for preventive heart care, as well as women and heart disease.
“We hold the Go Red for Women campaign every year, where we encourage men and women to wear red on the first Friday of February to show their support,” Dr. Krishnan says. “As a part of that, we’ve done lectures for other providers and a lot of talks. My nurses and staff at MultiCare Pulse Heart Institute have hosted booths at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital with information for women and families of patients.”
Go Red for Women is an American Heart Association (AHA) initiative that invites women to take charge of their heart health. The movement includes wearing red, sharing facts and making a personal commitment, and Dr. Krishnan has long been a proponent.
She and her cohort further speak at local churches, senior centers, fundraisers, health fairs, malls and other community events to spread the message of heart health — especially women’s heart health — all year long.
But, why the gender-specific focus?
“In 2002, surveys were done, and almost all women felt that breast cancer was the biggest threat. (Actually) the cause of the biggest mortality in women is heart disease or cardiovascular events, which can be in the form of a stroke or a heart attack,” she explains. “Women, unfortunately, tend to have a slightly higher risk of stroke compared to men. That is why raising awareness has become very important. It’s my passion, along with prevention.”
A partner for prevention
Dr. Krishnan’s enthusiasm also carries over to her patients like Lisa Glasser. As Lisa shared in a past blog story, on the evening of Dec. 5, 2016, she experienced intense neck pain, marking the start of a heart attack, which led to her cardiac arrest. Thankfully, her husband John was at home. He was unable to find a heartbeat and performed CPR for 10 minutes on Lisa until first responders arrived.
“John is my hero” Lisa says. “His courageous actions, along with the other first responders who worked on me for 50 minutes, saved my life.”
Following her heart attack and subsequent coma at MultiCare Auburn Medical Center, Lisa woke up ready to begin her healing journey with Dr. Krishnan at her side.
“How could you not fall in love with Dr. Krishnan?” Lisa asks. “She’s very gentle, upfront and gave us lots of information. She really understands what a heart patient goes through.”
Throughout her cardiac rehab with Dr. Krishnan — which includes relaxation and stress management techniques, medically monitored exercise, nutrition education and more — Lisa continues to reduce her chances of another cardiac arrest. According to the AHA, about one in five people who have had a heart attack will be back in the hospital within five years.
Four years later and second heart attack-free, Lisa looks forward to celebrating the five-year mark later this year.
“I have a new outlook on life,” she shares. “Awareness of my health is always in the forefront of my mind. I try to balance my stress, and I work on my exercise and my weight loss. I am very grateful for Dr. Krishnan. She is a great partner for prevention.”
Extending a helping hand through philanthropy
Dr. Krishnan, a former South King Health Foundation board member, takes MultiCare’s mission of partnering for healing and a healthy future to heart by giving back through MultiCare Foundations to services like Helping Hands, which provides resources for patients in need.
She understands that while heart disease treatment is essential, procedures, medications and other aspects of that care can be quite expensive. Transportation to and from the hospital can also be a financial burden on some families. By making a recurring donation, Dr. Krishnan helps remove these barriers, while further supporting other MultiCare programs.
“I love being part of the Pulse and MultiCare team, and I have great gratitude that I’m able to give back,” she explains. “It brings a sense of fulfillment and happiness. I think it’s great we have foundations that make it possible for us to give back to the community where we live.” _____________________________________________________________________________
You can support heart health in your community and improve access to cardiovascular care with a gift to MultiCare Pulse Heart Institute.
About The Author
Shelby is a Senior Communications Specialist with the MultiCare Foundations department. More stories by this author