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Heart Smart Living
Heart Smart Living

Cardiologist, author, and heart health expert Dr. Sarah Samaan offers advice on how to live a heart smart life.

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Top Ten Questions in Cardiovascular Care for Women

For decades, research on heart disease and prevention focused on the needs and responses of the male heart. As narrow-minded as this may seem to us today, there were many reasons that women’s health was overlooked. First and foremost was the assumption that women’s hearts were no different. Secondly, many people—physicians and researchers included—failed to realize that heart disease is the prime killer of women. And third, much of the research done in years past studied groups of veterans from the overwhelmingly male Veterans Administration hospitals. 

Now, we are in a phase of intense catch-up, trying to make up for lost time and missed opportunities. There is still much work to be done. In June 2011, the WomenHeart group, also known as the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, issued a list of 10 important questions that need to be answered about women’s heart disease and prevention. I have paraphrased these questions for you here:

  1. What factors influence or explain differences in heart disease development and outcomes between women and men?
  2. What are the best strategies to assess, modify, and prevent heart disease in women?
  3. What are the most accurate and effective ways to evaluate chest pain and other heart symptoms in women?
  4. What role does a woman’s reproductive history and menopausal hormone therapy play in heart health?
  5. What are the factors that put a pregnant woman at risk for heart disease, and how can we treat them?
  6. What is the best way to study differences in cardiovascular disease between genders?
  7. muscle pumps normally but is stiff, and does not relax normally).What are the most effective treatments for diastolic heart failure in women? (Diastolic failure happens when the heart
  8. Why are young women more likely than men to die after a heart attack or heart surgery?
  9. How do psychosocial factors affect heart health in women?
  10. What biological factors most influence the development and outcome of heart disease in women?

By identifying these important issues, WomenHeart and the Society for Women’s Health Research hope to spur into action researchers, Congress, health administration officials, and others into taking on the challenges of advancing the health of women nationwide and around the world.

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Tags: Women and Heart Health

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About the Author


Dr. Samaan is an acclaimed cardiologist, writer, and heart health educator.