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KJLH: The Subtle Reality of Heart Disease Among Women

KJLH Radio's Adai Lamar recently interviewed a panel of experts from the Smidt Heart Institute's Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center during the 20th annual Women’s Health Expo.

Janet Wei, MD; Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, MS; Simona Campa, NP; and former fellow Lili Loni Barsky, MD, discussed the latest news in heart disease—the #1 cause of death for U.S. women.

Lamar asked the panelists about the risk factors, types of heart attacks and symptoms that women are more likely to face than men.

"We're starting to understand that certain aspects of women's health can affect heart health later on in life," Wei told Lamar. "It's very important to really understand that these are risk factors that contribute to over 80% of heart disease."

One unique risk factor for women that could make them more susceptible to heart disease emerges during menopause, largely due to shifts in blood pressure and cholesterol they experience during that time.

"We know after menopause women develop higher blood pressure on a higher trajectory than men," Shufelt told Lamar. "Meaning, we get high blood pressure at a faster rate than men do after the age of 50."

Shufelt recommended that women going through menopause see a physician to examine their heart risk factors.

Campa noted that, just as with men, most heart attack symptoms in women are related to chest discomfort. However, women also are likely to have nausea, crushing fatigue, heartburn and jaw pain.

Barsky encouraged anyone experiencing cardiovascular symptoms to seek care, as studies have shown that early recognition and intervention can improve outcomes.

Click here to listen to the complete interview at KJLHradio.com.