Women & Cardiovascular Disease (VIDEO)Each year, more women die from heart disease than from breast cancer, cervical cancer, and uterine cancer -- combined. In this video, you can explore the female cardiovascular system and listen to renowned cardiologists Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Karol Watson, and Dr. Peter Fail. They explain why women are vulnerable to heart disease, how their vessels and symptoms differ from men's, and why women face challenges in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.
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
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