A Woman's Risk for Heart Disease is Different: Here's What You Need to Know

You've likely seen headlines or heard statistics – heart disease is a big issue in the United States for both men and women alike, causing one out of every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the development of heart disease and its risk factors can vary by gender. Here's what you need to know about the risk factors unique to women:

  1. Your Hormones Could Be Affecting You
    Estrogen, the hormone responsible for the development and maintenance of the female reproductive system, has some interesting positive effects on the heart and blood vessels. Estrogen helps keep blood vessels flexible, which promotes good blood flow. It also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels and soaks up particles in the blood that can damage arteries and other tissues. However, as women mature, their estrogen levels decrease, especially during menopause. After menopause, blood pressure, iron levels and "bad" cholesterol (LDL) levels can increase, and cardiovascular disease risk follows suit. Similarly, the risk of heart disease increases for those with hormone disorders, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all of which are heart disease risks.
  2. Pregnancy Complications May Be a Sign of Future Heart Problems
    If you experienced pregnancy-induced hypertension, pre-eclampsia or gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you could be at increased risk for heart disease as these conditions can increase the occurrence of other heart disease risk factors. Women who have preeclampsia or hypertension during pregnancy are at a much higher risk of developing high blood pressure or suffering from a stroke as they age, and women who had gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  3. The Effects of Smoking Can Be Worse For Women
    While you may be aware of smoking's many harmful long-term implications, you may not be aware that the consequences for women can be much worse. In general, smoking causes blood to thicken, increasing the risk of blood clots and damage to blood vessel walls. Female smokers' risk of suffering a heart attack is twice that of men who light up. While it's unclear why women are affected more, the good news is that heart attack risk drops dramatically within the first year a person quits smoking.

It might seem like the deck is stacked against you when it comes to your heart's future, but in fact, you hold the trump card — knowledge. Knowing your blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index can reveal a lot about the health of your heart and the risk factors you may be able to reduce by exercising regularly and eating a heart-healthy diet. Interested in learning more about the risk factors that might be putting you at risk for heart disease? Take our free heart health assessment to receive a personalized analysis of your heart disease risk.

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Why Choose Us?

Our knowledgeable, compassionate and experienced cardiac care teams are dedicated to providing a range of heart care services - from helping you create a heart-healthy lifestyle to performing lifesaving procedures in emergencies.

  • DeTar Hospital Navarro is the area's first hospital recognized by the American College of Cardiology as an Accredited Chest Pain Center with Primary PCI and Resuscitation. PCI stands for percutaneous coronary intervention - also sometimes called coronary angioplasty. This designation means we use PCI as the primary treatment for acute heart attacks.
  • Our cardiac rehabilitation department is accredited by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
  • We received Gold recognition from the American Heart Association for the Mission: Lifeline NSTEMI. An NSTEMI, or non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, is a type of heart attack. Recognition through this program means that we successfully adopted and continue to maintain quality guidelines that support higher quality care for heart attack patients.
  • We have received Gold Plus recognition from the American Heart Association for the Mission: Lifeline STEMI Receiving Center. This recognition means we achieved an 85% or higher composite adherence to all quality achievement indicators.
  • Texas Department of State Health Services designated Primary Stroke Facility.
  • The Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center.
  • DeTar Healthcare System is the recipient of The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval® for Hospital Accreditation, which reflects our commitment to providing safe and effective patient care.

Our Cardiac Services Include:

  • 24-hour interventional cardiology and CV surgery coverage
  • Procedures to help prevent strokes caused by blood clots
  • Cardiac rehabilitation that combines education, support and exercise therapy
  • Cardioversions to restore normal heart rhythms
  • Coronary artery interventions that include balloon angioplasty and stent placement for blocked arteries
  • Dedicated, experienced interventional cardiologists, board certified in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology and internal medicine
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary emboli (PE) treatments
  • Diagnostic and imaging technology to find heart disease early (when it's most treatable)
  • Electrophysiology procedures to treat heart rhythm disorders (AFib)
  • Less invasive pacemaker procedures using a leadless pacemaker
  • Open heart surgeries, including coronary bypass
  • Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE), echocardiograms (ECHO) and cardiac stress tests to see how well the heart is working
  • Treatments for chronic and new-onset atrial fibrillation (AFib)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking special precautions to keep our offices and other care environments safe for every patient.

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