The Karen Yontz Women’s Cardiac Awareness Center was established in 1997 in honor of Karen Yontz who passed away in late 1994 after a long battle with heart disease. Karen’s heart disease was traced back to side effects from Hodgkin’s disease treatment in her 20s. Knowing Karen’s strong feelings toward heart disease, her husband, Ken, made a major contribution to Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center to establish the cardiac awareness center in order to educate women on their unique cardiac health.
The Karen Yontz Center isn’t a clinic. Rather, it is a resource center to help you learn about and manage your risk factors. Nearly twice as many women die of cardiovascular disease—including heart disease and stroke—than from all other cancers combined. Cardiovascular disease affects women of all ages and much of the time, its symptoms present themselves differently in women than in men. That’s why we strive to raise awareness about women and cardiovascular disease by promoting wellness and advocating for early diagnosis and treatment.
By visiting the Karen Yontz Center, you have the opportunity to speak with a health professional about your risk for developing cardiovascular disease and develop a plan to get and keep your heart healthy for a long time. We’re a place to learn how to prevent these cardiac risks and a hub for getting those messages out into the community through our center’s nurse educator, registered dietitian, our support groups, and our center’s newsletter, website, and social media presence.
Our center serves as a gathering place where you can sit and relax in a quiet environment and educate yourself about your cardiovascular health and gather information about how to live, work, eat and play in a heart-healthy way.
At the center, you will be greeted by our knowledgeable and friendly staff. You can have your blood pressure checked; discuss heart-healthy options for both diet and fitness and schedule an assessment of your resting metabolic rate. You can browse and borrow from our library of books, DVDs, and magazines or use our computer kiosk. You can join one of our support groups or attend a class that will help you better understand how to prevent cardiovascular disease or how to live with it if you’ve already been diagnosed.
Though your risk gets higher the older you get, we strive for women of all ages to be aware of cardiovascular disease risks and take steps to prevent it. Those risks may not always be obvious. It isn’t just about your body size; it’s about important factors like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, family history and more. We encourage you to have the same discipline about monitoring cardiovascular disease as you hopefully do with your annual gynecological tests and mammograms.