Ask the Cardiologist: Heart Health for the Ladies

Q: Are women more likely to die of breast cancer or heart disease? Are there any female-specific things we can do to improve heart health?

A: With all the breast cancer news and awareness campaigns, we forget that roughly 6 times more women die form cardiovascular disease than from breast cancer. Though millions of women do their yearly breast mammograms, many of them unfortunately have untreated high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or even diabetes.

The incidence of heart disease is growing in women, especially in young females because of the epidemics of obesity and smoking. I’ve recently seen a growing number of women’s health clinics and women’s health specialists, and I’ve even noticed that some cardiologists have begun to “specialize” in women’s heart disease. This creates the perception that heart disease in women is different, and maybe event somewhat unusual.

Unfortunately, it’s a common disease among women, and half of my patients in my cardiovascular practice are women. The disease is also no different in women, and we treat it the same. However, there can be some differences in treating women since their arteries usually are smaller then men’s. But the principles of therapy are the same in men and women. It is important to treat high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and lack of physical activity in women and men alike.

Do you have a question for Dr. Malinski? To submit your question, post it in the comments section below, visit the Sherman Health Facebook page, or email with the subject line “Question for Dr. Malinski.”

This post is published by Sherman Health to provide general health information. It is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your physician.

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
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