Women & Cardiovascular Disease (VIDEO)
heart attacks with no symptoms whatsoever. Read more
cardiovascular system is made to be resilient and to adjust to various conditions throughout your day and throughout your life. Consisting of the heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries, it is amazing in both its extent and its durability. Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day, more than 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime, circulating your blood through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body. And it does all that three times a minute. Your blood carries nutrients and oxygen to all the tissues of your body and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes from them. If you take care of yourself, your heart and blood vessels can be in excellent condition and continue to do this incredible work even as you grow older. Although genetics certainly plays a part in your health, more important are the choices you make through the years about diet, health habits, and exercise. Read more
Many people think heart disease is mostly a problem for men. But heart disease caused by atherosclerosis, called coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary artery disease (CAD), is the leading cause of death and disability in women after menopause. CHD is a broad term that includes angina (chest pain), heart attacks, sudden cardiac death syndrome, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), and heart failure due to a weakened heart, all caused by clogged cardiac arteries. Read more
A plaque can rupture and form a blood clot, called a thrombus. If the thrombus breaks off and travels through the blood stream, it's called an embolus. Emboli can travel to the hearts, lungs, or brain. Healthy arteries are flexible and allow blood to flow freely, but arteries clogged by atherosclerosis are susceptible to partial or complete blockage by debris or clots. If a blood clot blocks one of the coronary arteries (the arteries that supply the heart with blood), the result can be a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. If it blocks blood flow to the brain, it can cause a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or a stroke. More women than men die of stroke. Read more
cardiovascular systems in particular need to be resilient. As compared to a man's, a woman's body goes through extraordinary changes during her lifetime. These changes can have an enormous effect on her cardiovascular system. The most dramatic example of this is pregnancy. Read more
Women's risk factors for CHD differ in several important respects from men's.
- Cholesterol. Studies have shown that women with high cholesterol levels have a somewhat lower mortality rate due to CHD than men with high cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels may be less important than high levels of triglycerides in determining women's risk of CHD. For women in particular, high levels of HDL-cholesterol were associated with a low risk of developing CHD.
- Triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides (the form in which most fat exists in the body) were more strongly associated with developing heart disease in women than in men.
- High blood pressure. Doctors think that high blood pressure may be an even stronger predictor of CHD in women than it is in men.
Treatment for CHD and heart attack include drug treatment, angioplasty and stent placement, and coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Treatment for ischemic stroke is similar to treatment for CHD and heart attack, while treatment for hemorrhagic stroke seeks to prevent uncontrolled bleeding in the brain. Read more
- Total cholesterol levels
- HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) level
- Blood pressure
- Body weight
Studies have shown that by avoiding or controlling all five of these major risk factors, 80% or more of heart attacks can be prevented. Knowing this can inspire you to adopt a healthier lifestyle. It's especially important for women to take a proactive approach to cardiovascular health, because the traditional tests may not detect CHD in women. Read more
Related Health Centers:
Aneurysm and Stent, Angioplasty, Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Continuum, Cholesterol and Atherosclerosis, Coronary Bypass Surgery, Heart Attack and Angina, Hypertension, Stroke, Thrombosis and Embolism, Women and Cardiovascular Health