Women and Heart Disease

February 17, 2021

You may be surprised to learn that women in the United States have a one in four chance of dying of heart disease, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Of women 40-60 years old, an estimated 80% have at least one risk factor for heart disease, which can double their chances of developing the disease.

The NHLBI lists the following risk factors for heart disease:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being physically inactive
  • Having a family history of early heart disease
  • Having a history of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Age (55 or older for women)

Kim Huntington-Alfano, D.O., a primary care physician at the Midwestern University Multispecialty Clinic wants women to understand the importance of knowing their individual risks for developing heart disease. “Women are often so busy raising children and working that they put their own well-being on hold. It is important for them to take the time to schedule regular checkups, as well as talk with their doctors about ways to prevent and control heart disease.”

Dr. Huntington-Alfano notes that many people are delaying visits with their physicians during the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is critical that any person at risk for heart disease not delay necessary screening and diagnostic evaluations. The risk of being infected in the healthcare setting is low given all the extra screening and safety measures in place at these facilities.

Dr. Kimberly Huntington-Alfano, D.O., M.B.A., C.S., is an Associate Professor at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and Medical Director at the Midwestern University Multispecialty Family Medicine Clinic in Downers Grove, Illinois. 

Source: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov

The information contained in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, care, or treatment. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding any possible health condition.

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