Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Clinic’

9 Myths about Women’s Heart Disease

Some 6.5 million American women suffer from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death among women of all ages.

Since February is American Heart Month I thought I’d post this list from Leslie Cho, MD, Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist and Director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center, of 9 common myths about women and heart disease:

9 Myths about Women’s Heart Disease

o Myth #1: Vitamins C and D help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Neither supplement has been proven effective when it comes to reducing the risk of heart disease.

o Myth #2: Fish oils help reduce cholesterol.

Fish oil only lowers triglyceride levels at high doses, which can increase HDL, known as “good” cholesterol.

o Myth #3: Women have higher cholesterol than men.

Prior to menopause, women tend to have lower cholesterol than men and a similar cholesterol level following menopause.

o Myth #4: Statins do not help women.

Statins are effective in the treatment and prevention of coronary heart disease in both men and women.

o Myth #5: Hormone replacement therapy helps with heart disease.

Postmenopausal women should not take estrogen to try to prevent heart disease.

Hormonal replacement therapy actually increases the likelihood of heart attack and death from heart disease in older women and those more than 10 years from menopause.

However, it poses little to no risk when used for short periods (6 months) by women.

o Myth #6: You don’t need to exercise if you are thin.

If you don’t exercise regularly, you increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease, regardless of your physique.

o Myth #7: You need to start getting check-ups at the age of 50.

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association recommend that all people have their cholesterol checked at age 20 and have routine cholesterol tests every five years following their first check-up.

For those with heart disease risk factors, the ACC and AHA recommend annual cholesterol checks.

Also, all people 35 and older should have their blood pressure checked.

Individuals with a family history of hypertension should have their blood pressure check before age 35.

Blood pressure can easily be checked for free.

o Myth #8: Herbal supplements help.

There is no evidence that multivitamins and antioxidants prevent heart disease.

o Myth #9: Younger women do not need to worry about heart disease.

While heart problems usually occur later in life, risk begins to accumulate early.

By age 40, more than half of women have at least one risk factor.