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Dr. Rap speaks about heart disease

Women need to know symptoms of heart attacks

Posted: March 5, 2009 9:52 p.m.
Updated: March 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.

It was a cold and rainy evening on Town Center Drive in Valencia when Dr. Rap arrived at Bellasport, a sportswear store owned by Anna Ott.

Dr. Samuel Kojoglanian, known in the Santa Clarita Valley as the “Mender of Hearts,” had volunteered to speak to speak about women’s heart health in honor of “Go Red for Women” month. “Go Red” month was founded by the American Heart Association to educate women about the dangers of heart disease.

Known as Dr. Rap, because of his hobby as a rap music artist, Kojoglanian, the Santa Clarita Valley’s first board-certified interventional cardiologist, spoke to more than a dozen women and men about heart disease and how it relates to women.

“I think we think about heart disease in men in America and I think women worry about breast cancer,” Kojoglanian said. “About 38 million American ladies have heart disease today, some are diagnosed and some are not diagnosed. Women think of breast cancer but it is an 18-to-1 ratio of women dying of heart disease verses breast cancer.”

Kojoglanian said many women present themselves in emergency rooms and are told they have anxiety or depression, when in reality they are having a heart attack.

“Women come with atypical symptoms,” he said. “Ladies have to know the symptoms before they go to the ER because many doctors will say, ‘you have problems with your head, you need a psychiatrist.’”

Kojoglanian compared heart disease to a traffic jam on the 405 freeway and alerted the audience to some of the symptoms of a heart attack.

“When we are siting down we don’t feel it but if we’re going up and down the stairs or exerting ourselves, that is when we feel symptoms,” he said.

“The classical symptom is chest pain or pressure to the left or the center of the chest, it can radiate from the chest or the jaw or to the back. Also if you have chest tightness or chest discomfort when coming up or down the stairs, or are winded.
These are some of the symptoms women should look for.”

Kojoglanian also explained the basics of how the heart works and steps women can take to stay heart healthy.

“Stress can really hurt,” he said. “There are things you can’t change. One of them is age, you can’t change your age. You can’t change your family history. However, if you smoke it is like jackhammering the walls of your heart — it tears up the walls of the heart.”

He also stressed the dangers of obesity.

“I am having to tell my patients that they aren’t just overweight, they are obese,” he said. “We have extra, extra large obesity. If you have diabetes, I don’t count it as one risk factor I count it as two — diabetes will tear you up.”

Kojoglanian said women can start eating right and monitoring cholestoral levels.

He also suggested that everyone maintain balance in their life.

“I eat an In and Out double double animal style every 6 weeks — with a milkshake,” he said. “You have to have balance. Extremes in life will hurt you.”

Exercise, moderate alchol consumption and avoiding depression were other suggestions made by Kojoglanian.

“Sink your teeth into life and love it. Love life today, we have no idea if we have tomarrow or not,” he said.

Ott said she hosted the event to help women learn more about heart health.

“The ‘Go Red for Women’ is a great opportunity to reach out to women in our community and alert them to their personal risk factors for heart disease.” said Ott. “By joining together we can raise awareness locally about heart disease and help lead women on the path to prevention.”

Kojoglanian is the author of three books for adults that discuss topics such as dreams, forgiveness of the past, looking ahead and facing fears. His blog (found at is a moving memoir that recounts his life and his medical challenges. His music CDs include “Outrageous Healer,” “Licensed to Heal” and “Cut to the Heart” and are available on his Web site.
For information on Kojoglanian visit


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