Meet Dr. Donnica Video Introduction TV Appearances

Diseases & Conditions Today on DrDonnica.com Clinical Trials Decisionnaires FAQs Top Tips Fast Facts Debunking Myths News Alerts Celebrity Speak Out Guest Experts Women's Health Champions Books Women's Health Resources

Mission Privacy Policy Sponsors Press Room What's New? Contact Us

This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.


Hope Award

Send to a Friend

Heart Disease and Women

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading killer of women and men in the US While still perceived as affecting more men than women, CVD has actually claimed the lives of more American women than men for each year since 1984. Heart attacks, or myocardial infarctions, are the most dramatic manifestation of CVD: they will affect approximately 345,000 American women this year. While many of those heart attacks won't be fatal, recognizing symptoms as early as possible and initiating life-saving therapies within the first critical hours is essential to minimizing death.

Surprisingly, women's heart attack symptoms may often differ from those affecting men. Although a heart attack may be preceded by the "classic" warning signs of chest pain, shortness of breath, pain radiating down the arm and tightness in the chest, women sometimes experience nausea, fatigue or dizziness before a heart attack occurs.

What can you do to reduce your risk of a heart attack? First, ask your doctor for a thorough heart disease risk assessment. Risk factors include elevated cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, family history of heart disease, being overweight or obese, menopausal status, and having a sedentary lifestyle. African Americans are also at even greater risk for CVD than other races, even when all other factors are equal. African American women are less likely than white women to be given lifesaving treatments such as aspirin, statins and even blood pressure-lowering medications.

Based upon your risk assessment, discuss your appropriate prevention and treatment options. Numerous studies have shown that men and women alike are under treated for heart disease, and that women are treated even less aggressively than men. Specifically, ask your doctor if you would benefit from taking a daily baby aspirin. Studies have shown that daily aspirin use may reduce the risk of a first heart attack by 32%, reduce the risk of a second heart attack by 20%, and reduce the risk of death by 15% in those who have previously suffered a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin may also prevent death by up to 23% if taken when a heart attack is suspected and then continued for 30 days afterwards.

Other strategies for effective prevention, whether or not you already have evidence of CVD: Modify your diet. Develop an exercise routine. Stop smoking. Manage your weight. And schedule-and keep-regular visits with your healthcare provider.

Created: 3/12/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

All the content contained herein is copyrighted pursuant to federal law. Duplication or use without
the express written permission of DrDonnica.com subjects the violator to both civil & criminal penalties.
Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.

Home | Today on DrDonnica.com | Meet Dr. Donnica | TV Appearances | Clinical Trials
Diseases & Conditions | Decisionnaires | Celebrity Speak Out | Guest Experts | Women's Health Champions
FAQs | Women’s Health Resources | Archive | Books & Tapes | Site Certification | Advanced Search
Mission | What’s New? | Press Room | Privacy Policy | Sponsors | Partners | Contact Us