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Podcast: Women and heart health

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Heart disease impacts women too

Contrary to what many believe, heart disease is not just a man’s disease.

Almost as many women die of heart disease as men each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One problem is that many people don’t consider heart disease something women should be thinking about, says Dr. Scott Weslow a fellowship-trained interventional cardiologist with Aurora BayCare Cardiology.

Weslow was interviewed on the topic for a recent BayCare Clinic podcast. Listen to the entire conversation above.

“Heart disease is the number one killer (in the United States) of men and women,” he says. “Some people think it’s only men and that’s simply not true.”

Heart disease can be defined as a problem with any component in the heart, but when people speak of heart disease, they are commonly referring to coronary artery disease-- blockages that can cause heart attack.

“The risk factors for heart disease are not different (for men and women),” says Weslow. “Historically women didn’t have as many of these risk factors but now they do.”

Risk factors for heart disease in men and women

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Family history

“Four out of the big five we can control,” says Weslow. “And we should.”

It’s important that men and women recognize the risk factors for heart disease and pay attention to possible symptoms, he adds.

Everyone knows chest pain, but other symptoms might include shortness of breath, light headedness, or dizziness.

“More then half of women will not have chest pain with their heart attacks,” says Weslow.

While the other symptoms can be difficult to identify it’s important to pay attention to your body.

“In general, women know their bodies probably better than men. If something is just not feeling right, trust your instincts.”

Remember, it could be a heart attack for women too.

Published: Monday, January 9, 2023
Author: Alysha Schertz