More women die from heart attacks than from breast cancer. What's even more surprising is that more women die from heart disease than all cancers combined.
The CHI Health Heart Institute providers address the unique manifestations of heart disease in women. Our center offers state-of-the-art diagnosis, care and prevention of heart disease that begins with a complete women's cardiac health evaluation based on your family history and lifestyle.
We evaluate and treat irregular heart beats and chest pain, as well as provide diagnostic cardiac testing. This testing, especially directed towards women, may include stress tests, cardiovascular ultrasounds and EKG.
- Comprehensive Cardiovascular Evaluation
- Risk-factor Assessment
- Blood Pressure
- Blood Sugar
- Cholesterol Profile
- Family-history Profile
- Exercise Prescription
- Dietary Evaluation and Consultation
- Stress Management Techniques
- Treatment for Cardiac/Vascular Disease
- Follow-up Support
- Prevention Recommendations and Treatment
- Educational Seminars/Workshops
- Prompt Communication with Primary Physician
Cardiovascular Disease; The Numbers Don’t Lie!
Historically, coronary heart disease has been perceived as a medical problem afflicting men or the elderly. But now, statistics show that women are at risk for heart disease just as much as men. Even more alarming is that heart disease is the number one cause of death for American women age 35 and older.
Of the nearly 500,000 heart attacks that occur each year, approximately 240,000 are suffered by women. In the United States, more than half a million women will die from heart disease and stroke each year. Since 1984, more women than men have died from heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases combined.
One in nine women age 45 to 64 have some form of cardiovascular disease; this number increases to one in three after age 65. These statistics should be a wake-up call. Women need to join the fight against heart disease, make positive lifestyle changes, and ultimately, take control of their own well being.
Many factors contribute to heart disease. Smoking may increase the chance of developing heart disease by two to four times that of a nonsmoker. Cholesterol contributes to plaque build-up in the arteries, creating a block in blood flow which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
High blood pressure is another contributor to cardiovascular disease. More than 60 percent of women over the age of 65 have high blood pressure; and some may not even know it. Inactivity and obesity can indirectly lead to heart disease by increasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Postmenopausal women may also be at higher risk for heart disease. Some researchers believe that estrogen, a hormone naturally produced in women, may offer protection against heart disease.
Taking Charge of Your Lifestyle
By making small changes in behavior, women can significantly lower their risk of heart disease.
For example, in the United States, smoking among women has declined by 32 percent during the last three decades. Americans are watching their diet and cholesterol level more closely. And, it’s commonplace to find exercise paths or shopping malls that cater to exercise enthusiasts.
The American Heart Association reminds us of the three ‘Rs’ that help lower our risk of heart disease:
- regular exercise will help reduce your risk of heart disease,
- recognize warning signs such as nausea, shortness of breath, or unexplained anxiety, and
- respond to your body’s call-to-action, thereby limiting the damage that heart disease can cause.
Most importantly, see your physician on a regular basis. Education and prevention are the keys to fighting disease. It’s your health, so take charge.
Your Partner in Health Care
At the CHI Health Heart Institute, the physician-patient relationship is the building block to better health. Whether it’s diet, medication, or discussing the benefits of estrogen replacement therapy, your health care team can tailor a program to improve your cardiovascular health.
CHI Health Heart Institute, the region’s premier heart-care practice, provides high-quality, compassionate, and cost-effective cardiac-care services. Our providers perform more diagnostic, interventional, and surgical procedures than any other cardiac program in the region.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
If you have any of these signs, don't wait to call for help. Call 9-1-1 right away.