Women and heart health: Things to ask your doctor

Each year, one in three women die from cardiovascular disease, making it the number one killer and greatest threat to a woman’s health. This number is far higher than women who die of breast cancer. February is designated as American Heart Month – a national movement to educate women about heart disease and stroke. Dr. Christina Reuss, cardiologist and independent member of HonorHealth’s Medical Staff, shares some ways women can reduce their risk of heart disease.

Talk to your doctor about your obstetrical history

If you’ve been previously diagnosed with preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced hypertension or gestational diabetes you’re considered at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Get screened for inflammatory conditions

Women with inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis, chronic inflammatory states (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, etc.) have a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

Request to be screened earlier

Heart disease affects Hispanic women 10 years earlier than non-Hispanics, and only one in three are aware that heart disease is their number one killer. African-American women are two times more likely than Caucasian women to die earlier from stroke. More unsettling is that 49% of African-American women who are over 20 years of age have heart disease. Getting screened earlier can have life-changing effects.

Create an action plan

Work with your primary care provider to create an action plan. This can help to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Keep in mind

Using birth control pills and smoking boosts a woman’s risk of heart disease by 20%. The American Heart Association recommends women to begin checking their cholesterol at the age of 20.

Learn more

Learn more about how you can help improve your heart health, not only in February, but all year round.

Women and Heart Disease