March 14, 2001 | By: Laura Skillman

Juggling is something women have learned to do as they balance careers and homes. Keeping those balls in the air can be challenging especially if the juggler neglects to include a ball that provides them with proper nutrition, healthcare and activity.

That was the message from Bonnie Schrock, vice president of marketing for Western Baptist Hospital in Paducah. Schrock was one of several speakers last week at the Wildcat Way to Wellness...Where Will It Take You?

The program was sponsored by the Pennyrile Area Cooperative Extension Service offices and Pennyrile Area Extension Homemakers Association. A $1,000 grant from the Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association helped offset some of the expenses.

"The program was designed by the Pennyrile Area Family and Consumer Sciences agents and members of the Homemakers council," said Marsha Parker, Christian County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences.

"We got together and said what do we want to reach," she said. "We started thinking about health concerns of women and what topics would be the most applicable and who could be speakers. The Wildcat Way to Wellness is a University of Kentucky program that has some guidelines as far as topics and we picked from those.

"Our goal for the day was to bring health care issues to people of the Pennyrile area," Parker said.

About 100 women attended the one-day conference at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.

Topics included a cooking school and numerous breakout sessions on diet and cancer, women and heart disease, finding quality health information on the Internet, dietary supplements, diabetes control, and building strength.

Cheri Edelen, a nurse practitioner at the Trover Clinic in Madisonville, told participants that heart disease, long considered a man's disease, is the number one killer of women in the United States. Women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men and more women die annually from heart disease than from breast cancer.

Often women have less common warning signs of heart problems than do men, Edelen said. Instead of crushing chest pain women may experience stomach pain, nausea or dizziness, unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue and palpitations, cold sweat and paleness.

"Twenty-five percent of women who have heart attacks have no chest pains," she said. "What they have is shortness of breath and fatigue."

Women need to learn to take as good care of themselves as they do their families, she said.

"Women control health care decisions," she said. "We do it very well for others but not for ourselves and we need to. We delay our treatments."

To help protect themselves women need to recognize and reduce risk. The number one risk is family history. To reduce risk, if you are a diabetic control it, reduce nicotine if you smoke, watch cholesterol, fight fat and get exercise, Edelen said.


Marsha Parker, (270) 886-6328