News / USA

Women at Greater Risk of Heart Disease

Carol Pearson

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world, and it is mostly preventable. But reducing deaths from heart disease will require changes in lifestyle and public policy, and better public awareness programs. Women are at greater risk from heart disease than men.  That's partly because it's harder to diagnose in women.

When a man has a heart attack, it is often because of a blocked artery.  An x-ray of blood vessels, an angiogram, can usually spot a blockage caused by a buildup of plaque. It involves threading a thin tube into a patient's arteries.

But angiograms don't always spot problems in women's arteries. That puts women at greater risk for a heart attack. The World Health Organization reports that heart disease claims the lives of 18 million women a year. And it's a disease that doesn't just impact older women. Carrie Vincent had a massive heart attack after giving birth to her first child. "My God, I was 31 years old..31 year olds don't have heart attacks," she said.

Vincent is now taking her message to women in their homes. Irene Pollin went into action when she learned this fact. "Heart disease is the number one killer of women," she said.

Pollin founded Sister to Sister, an organization to educate women about heart disease. She encourages women to learn about their blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease. "The goal is really prevention, having people understand their risk, that they should try to get screened, know their numbers and then do something about it," she said.

Pollin teamed up with a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where Dr. Joanne Foody focuses on prevention. "The good news is that we know that 95 percent of heart disease is preventable by reducing risk," she said.

That means becoming or remaining a non-smoker, controlling or avoiding diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight, eating the right foods, exercising 30 minutes most days and managing or reducing stress.

Heart disease increasingly affects women in developing countries. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian places a lot of blame on the global obesity epidemic. "People are getting chronic diseases by not eating too much, but by eating poorly. What they're not eating is mostly what's harming them," he said.

Dr. Mozaffarian recommends increasing our intake of fish, whole grains, vegetables, vegetable oils and nuts and decreasing the amount of salt and transfats in our diets

Both doctors recommend public policies that promote heart health, and, of course, screening and education, the type that Irene Pollin and Carrie Vincent are doing one event at a time.

Heart disease is the number one killer in the world, and it is mostly preventable. But reducing deaths from heart disease will require changes in lifestyle and public policy, and better public awareness programs. Women are at greater risk from heart disease than men.  That's partly because it's harder to diagnose in women. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on efforts to lower those risks and help women avoid heart disease.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid