Monday, January 17, 2022

You Gotta Have Heart


Dr. Sarah deLeon Mansson Submitted Photo

Dr. Sarah deLeon Mansson Submitted Photo

February is the month where we seem to be surrounded by hearts. To begin, this month hosts Valentine’s Day, which is basically a heart-a-thon. You can’t walk into a store or turn on the TV without hearts flying in your direction.

Hearts also play a significant role in pop culture—especially in the way the “heart” is used in everyday language. Whether it’s the suggestion to “have a heart” or a capricious individual’s “change of heart,” many of us “wear our hearts on our sleeves” to show that we “have a big heart.”

And the common denominator? Though they can be fragile (“a broken heart”), the heart seems to have an excellent reputation for being both important and timeless. #HeartMatters



As the CEO of Physicians Regional Healthcare System, I love hearts. Sure, I enjoy a sentimental valentine as much as the next person; however, when I see the word heart, my main concern is helping others maintain a “healthy heart.”

It also seems fitting that February is American Heart Month. A federally designated event, American Heart Month was established to remind Americans to renew their focus on heart health and encourage their families, friends and communities to get involved, too.

I see the wonders of the heart every day in the eyes of the variety of patients who receive heart-healthy support from the extraordinary men and women on Physicians Regional’s cardiac care team.

Take Sarah deLeon Mansson, for example. Dr. Mansson, her husband, Dr. Jonas Mansson, and their four children (ages 2 – 9), recently relocated from Bergen County, New Jersey, to join us at Physicians Regional Healthcare System. Dr. Mansson spent the last five years at Valley Hospital as a cardiologist in their women’s heart health program. She is now a part of the cardiology team at both our Collier Boulevard and Pine Ridge campuses.

Her specific interest in women’s heart health started in medical school when she was working in the ER. “I noticed that women weren’t always being given the same cardiovascular care even though they had many of the same risk factors as males. Women’s symptoms can be more subtle than males and therefore were not being attributed to cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Mansson. “For example, some clinicians assumed that a female patient’s symptoms were anxiety related or she wasn’t old enough to have a heart attack when, in fact, they should have been focused on her heart.”

According to, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. That’s approximately one woman every minute. But it doesn’t affect all women alike, and the warning signs for women aren’t the same in men.

“Women are not as aware of their risk factors, or they feel to busy or stressed to get evaluated,” suggests Dr. Mansson. “The presentations can be subtle in women and not as clear. Dizziness, nausea, abdominal discomfort and fatigue can be a sign of heart disease. While men present more with chest pain, the most common symptom in women is shortness of breath. Plus, when women get older, due to the lack of estrogen, heart disease is more diffused and harder to recognize.”

Dr. Mansson adds: “If you had hypertension during pregnancy or gestational diabetes, your risk goes up. Even depression is a risk factor for women and heart disease.”

What can all of us do to protect ourselves from heart disease? “The backdrop of every treatment is diet and exercise,” says Dr. Mansson. “Per the American Heart Association, I recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week, such as walking. For more vigorous activity, its 75 minutes per week.”

“As for diet, focus on green leafy vegetables, whole-grain fruits and staying away from carbonated beverages. And you’ve heard it before, but yes, decrease the intake of sweets and carbohydrates.”

And the good news for many? According to Dr. Mansson, one glass of red wine a day is actually good for the heart.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but Dr. Mansson and I agree it must be said: If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please call 911 immediately. And I say that, quite literally, from the bottom of my heart.

For more information on Dr. Sarah Mansson, or to schedule an appointment, please call 239-348-4221 or visit us online at

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