March 08, 2023

Heart-Related Facts Most Women Don’t Know

older women heart health

Clinically reviewed by: Dr. Jamie Kemp 

Everyone’s heart is unique. As a physician, I can tell you that the more you know about your one-of-a-kind heart, the better you can take care of it. While nothing can replace talking with your own healthcare provider, here is some information that can help you become heart smart.

You may be aware of the typical risk factors for heart disease such as obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and more. But did you know that there is growing evidence about risk factors that are related specifically to being a woman? Here are some that are likely to be new news to many women.

  • Your reproductive history may affect your risk of developing heart disease. Certain diseases that develop during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, may be strong predictors of future heart disease.
  • A recent study found that women 40 and under who have endometriosis were three times more likely to have a heart attack or chest pain, or to require treatment for blocked arteries when compared to women of the same age who did not have endometriosis.
  • Asthma is more common in women than in men. The chances of having a heart attack rise about 70 percent if you have asthma.
  • Among women who have migraines, the risk of a heart attack or stroke is about 50% higher than in women who don’t have them.
  • For older women, lower estrogen levels may contribute to risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

Knowing these risk factors exist can help you and your doctor design a customized program of preventive care for your heart. Be sure to speak with your provider and tell him or her about your medical history. If you don’t have a primary care provider, Baptist Health can help you find one who is dedicated to providing care that’s centered on you.

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