Heart Care for Women
Did you know that heart disease isn’t just the number one killer of men, but that it’s also the number one killer of women? Risk of heart disease increases with age and other uncontrollable factors. However, there’s a lot you can do for yourself to limit your risk of heart disease.
The women’s healthcare team at St. Joseph Medical Center is proud to partner with some of Houston’s finest cardiologists and heart surgeons for meeting the needs of our patients. In addition to using innovative treatment options and surgical procedures, our surgeons are leaders in their field. Many of the heart surgeons at St. Joseph Medical Center regularly teach other board-certified surgeons from around the world.
Could you be at risk for heart disease?
Some risk factors can’t be changed. For example, if your mother or sister had heart trouble before the age of 65, or if your father or brother had heart trouble before the age of 55, then you may be at higher risk for having a heart attack. Also, the risk of heart disease increases with age.
Many risk factors, however, can be controlled. Here are the top eight controllable risk factors:
- Smoking: Women who smoke are up to 6 times more likely to have a heart attack. Smoking damages the lining of the blood vessels and raises blood pressure.
- Diabetes: Women with a blood sugar level above 100 mg/dL are at higher risk of developing heart disease. Also, diabetes can make you more likely to have a silent heart attack.
- High Blood Pressure: If your blood pressure is 120/80 or higher, then you may be at greater risk of heart disease.
- Unhealthy Lipid Levels: Unhealthy HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol), levels can increase your risk. You may be at risk if your HDL cholesterol is 50 mg/dL or lower; LDL cholesterol 100 mg/dL or higher; triglycerides of 150 mg/dL or higher.
- Excess Weight: Excess weight makes your heart work harder and raises your risk of heart attack. Obesity could put you at risk for developing heart disease.
- Lack of Exercise: Not only does a lack of exercise contribute to the development of other risk factors like obesity and diabetes, but high blood pressure and unhealthy lipid levels are also more likely.
- Negative Emotions: Not all risk factors are physical. Stress and pent-up anger have been linked to heart disease. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, you may be interested in learning more about our Behavioral Health services for women.
- Metabolic Syndrome: If you have three or more of the following, then you have metabolic syndrome: low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, extra weight around the waist. Metabolic Syndrome puts you at extra high risk of stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
To learn more about the heart health care at St. Joseph Medical Center, visit our Heart Care page.