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?

When you put your heart in our hands, you get the benefit of more than 30 years of experience in cardiac care, the commitment that brought the first open heart surgery to our communities, and skills that can stop a heart attack in progress.

The heart care teams at ShorePoint Health are with you every step of the way, from preventive screenings and lifestyle support, through minimally invasive treatments and life-saving emergency care.

Our Services

  • Interventional Cardiology: We offer a variety of catheter-assisted techniques to treat heart disease, including cardiac catheterization, atherectomy (rotoblater), balloon angioplasty and stenting.

  • Open Heart Surgery: When open heart surgery becomes the best treatment solution, our team performs advanced procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), congenital heart disease repair and valve repair and replacement.

  • Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR): ShorePoint Health Venice performed our first TAVR procedure December, 2018. ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte performed the first TAVR procedure in Charlotte County on Friday, July 12, 2019.

  • Heart Rhythm Disorders: We provide arrhythmia treatment from lifestyle-modification assistance to complex surgical treatment, including ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), implantable devices including cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and pacemakers, and radiofrequency ablation. For patients with atrial fibrillation who are unable to continue long term anticoagulation therapy we offer left atrial appendage closure. We performed our first procedure in 2018.

ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte

Located on the campus of ShorePoint Health Port Charlotte, Southwest Florida Heart Center is Charlotte County's largest heart center and the only accredited Chest Pain Center with Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI) from the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

Features:

  • Private patient rooms
  • 10‐bed cardiac intensive care unit
  • 9-bed cardiac-vascular surgery unit
  • 16-bed post-interventional cardiac unit
  • 8-bed pre/post-interventional cardiac holding unit
  • Two open heart surgery suites
  • Four cath labs including a designated electrophysiology lab
  • Charlotte County's only hybrid operating room, a space which integrates a surgical operating room and an X-ray imaging system to enable clinicians to work more efficiently by reducing preparation and procedure time.

ShorePoint Health Venice

ShorePoint Health Venice has received a certification of Distinction for Chest Pain by The Joint Commission, 2021, a highly valued certification that combines a review of Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) and Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS).

Features:

  • Private rooms for cardiovascular patients
  • 8‐bed cardiac intensive care unit
  • 9-bed pre/post-interventional cardiac holding unit
  • 2 open heart surgery suites
  • 3 cath labs including a designated electrophysiology lab

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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