Health Matters: Heart Disease in Women
The numbers are alarming. Studies show heart disease is responsible for killing more than 100,000 women each year. “It’s the number one cause of death in women, even more so than breast cancer,” said Dr. Anthony McFarlane, a Lee Health cardiologist.
Heart disease is a general term that includes arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, blockages, and coronary artery disease. “A woman can live with heart disease and men too, for many years and not know it because it can be a very slow and progressive disease,” said Dr. McFarlane.
Understanding and recognizing the early signs of heart disease can be lifesaving. “If they are having symptoms such as shortness of breath, such as fatigue and tiredness, weakness, especially the elderly, loss of appetite or a change in the behavior, that can be a sign that there’s something going on with the heart,” he explained.
Studies show women who have had miscarriages, gestational diabetes, or gestational hypertension may have a higher risk of developing heart disease. “Heart disease is very treatable and there have been a lot of technical advances in this area. First, we usually start with medications,” said Dr. McFarlane.
Doctors also encourage a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, regular physical activity, and stress management. All can help women prevent heart disease.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/ Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation, and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic-assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit LeeHealth.org
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