Prevention and Risk Evaluation
Maintaining heart health is a vital part of ensuring that women live happy, healthy and long lives. And, at Loma Linda University Medical Center, our experienced staff is dedicated to:
- Thoroughly evaluating a woman's unique risks for various heart problems
- Effectively diagnosing heart conditions in their early stages
- Teaching women about what they can do to improve their heart health
- Providing medical, emotional and spiritual support as women adopt new lifestyle habits and practice preventative care for heart conditions
Our Services: Assessing Women's Risk
During an initial exam, our highly trained heart specialists will gather women's complete medical history and then perform a physical exam to pinpoint whether she has a low to high risk of developing heart problems.
Factors that can increase women's risk of developing heart complications include:
- Age – The older women are, the more likely that their arteries have narrowed and / or their heart muscles have thickened. These changes can contribute to the development of heart disease. Women have a particularly high risk of developing heart conditions after going through menopause.
- Family history – If someone in a woman's family has experienced heart problems, a woman's risk will increase – especially if the relative's heart condition occurred at a younger age.
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol – While high blood pressure (hypertension) causes the arteries to narrow and thicken, high cholesterol levels cause plaque to build up inside the arteries. Either condition impairs blood flow to the heart and can contribute to serious heart conditions.
- Lifestyle habits – Poor eating habits, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can weaken and damage the heart.
Additional risk factors for heart disease and other severe heart conditions include:
- High stress
- Poor hygiene
- Sedentary lifestyles
Statistics & Facts Regarding Heart Conditions in Women
The following statistics highlight how important it is for women to assess their risk and take measures to prevent life-threatening heart conditions:
- Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in American women.
- About twice as many women die from some sort of heart condition, including heart attack, stroke and heart disease, than from all types of cancer, including breast cancer.
- Roughly 22 percent of women between 40 and 69 years old who have experienced a heart attack will have another heart attack within five years.
- Women typically develop heart problems later in life than men – usually about 7 years after men.
- Women are less likely to survive heart attacks than men – While the cause of this phenomenon is still unknown, some researchers suggest that it may be because women are less likely to seek or get treatment for their heart problems.
Preventing Heart Problems in Women
Despite the prevalence and severity of heart conditions affecting women, there are many things women can do to lower their risk and prevent life-threatening heart problems.
Preventative care for women's heart health can include but is not limited to:
- Eating a low-fat, low-sodium diet
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Finding ways to effectively reduce and manage stress
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
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