Expert Advice - Women's Heart Disease
Did you know that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for American women? Cancer gets a lot of press, but many more women die from heart disease each year than from all forms of cancer combined. We tend to think of heart disease as a man's problem, but it's actually more dangerous in women than in men. The good news is that as Americans have learned to control blood pressure and make healthy changes in their eating, smoking and exercise habits, deaths from heart attack and stroke have dropped dramatically.
Critical Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What screening or diagnostic tests for heart disease do I need?
- If I have a close family history of heart attack, am I at greater risk?
- What are my numbers and what do they mean?
- Blood pressure
- Cholesterol – total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and triglycerides
- Body mass index and waist circumference measurements
- Blood sugar level (could indicate risk for diabetes)
- What is the best way for me to quit smoking?
- How much physical activity do I need to help protect my heart?
- What’s a heart-healthy eating plan?
- What are the warning signs of heart disease or heart attack?
- If I experience signs or symptoms of a heart attack, what steps do I need to take
The risk factors and treatment for heart disease are the same in women, but often their symptoms of heart disease are different. Women may not experience the typical crushing chest pain that men may feel.
Women should be aware of the more subtle signs of heart trouble - abdominal discomfort, a feeling like heartburn, chest tightness. If you are feeling these symptoms, don't hesitate to have them evaluated by your physician. State that you are concerned about the possibility of heart disease.
Mills-Peninsula Health Services
Mills-Peninsula has a record for excellence in diagnosing and treating both men and women for heart disease. Mills-Peninsula has partnered with the Sutter Health network in an effort to improve women's awareness of heart disease. The effort is called Women's Heart Advantage.
Named one of the 100 Top cardiovascular programs in the United States in 2000, our specialists offer the latest expertise, beginning with sophisticated diagnostic tools such as coronary angiography and non-invasive ultrasound screening. In fact, advances in diagnosis, medications and less invasive therapeutic procedures such as cardiac catheterization, balloon dilation and stenting have helped reduce the number of people who require open heart surgery. When surgery is needed, our cardiac surgeons are experience d in the most advanced approaches.
We also have tools for heart disease prevention, including the education and fitness programs listed below:
- Smoking cessation
- Blood pressure screenings
- Cholesterol screenings
- Heart healthy exercise
- Hypertension management
- Heart healthy nutrition
- Cardiac risk screening
- All Heart University
- Baseline fitness testing
- Fitness Center
- Diabetes management
- Advanced lipid testing
- Weight loss and management
- Stress reduction programs: yoga, guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, massage, therapy, Watsu (water massage), Tai Chi, QiGong