Heart disease is not just a man’s disease. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of adult women at all ages and more women than men die of heart attack every year. Although heart disease, on average, occurs ten years later in women compared to men, increasing after menopause, it’s still possible for a 25-year-old female to succumb to a heart attack.
2 AnswersDr. Saritha Dodla, MD , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered on behalf of Medical Center AllianceWomen aren’t equally represented in heart disease research for several reasons, including:
- Heart disease continues to be perceived as a “man’s disease” by both the public and researchers so it’s less of a priority to study it in women.
- Women are viewed as a vulnerable group. For instance, there are restrictions around including women of childbearing potential in research studies.
- High costs of clinical studies make it hard to get enough study participants.
2 AnswersDr. Saritha Dodla, MD , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered on behalf of Medical Center AllianceThe danger of not including women in heart disease research is that doctors don’t know enough about how heart disease affects them, including how it progresses or presents itself. This results in under-diagnosis and under-treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women.
It is very important to consider gender when performing clinical research. Sex-specific medical research enables us to better understand the underlying physiology, risk factors, presenting symptoms, heart disease progression and outcomes. Only one-third of the cardiovascular clinical trial subjects are female and less than one-third of clinical trials that include women report outcomes by sex.
2 AnswersDr. David C. Fiore, MD , Family Medicine, answered on behalf of Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineMany people in their 30s feel almost indestructible. They are at their peak physical and mental health and often view chronic health problems, including heart problems, as something they don't have to think about.
However, the things we do when we're younger have a way of causing big problems as we age. And, it doesn't take too long to affect us, either. Smoking, not getting physical exercise, using drugs, drinking too much alcohol and an unhealthy diet can quickly lead to poor heart health and inability to enjoy life's activities.
2 AnswersDr. David C. Fiore, MD , Family Medicine, answered on behalf of Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicinePeople of all ages, including those in their 30s, do many things that can hurt their heart. Perhaps the most common thing we do is not get enough exercise. The heart, like every muscle, needs exercise to stay strong. If you don't get enough physical activity, the heart gets lazy and weak.
Another thing people in their 30s may do that hurts the heart is smoke cigarettes. This is one of the worst things you can do for your heart.
Other things that can hurt the heart are:
- drinking more than two or three glasses of alcohol a day
- using amphetamine-type drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine
- not eating a healthy diet
1 AnswerDr. Suzanne Steinbaum, DO , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
1 AnswerCor pulmonale is a serious heart condition that can result in heart failure. It is usually caused by long-term high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs that leads to enlargement and thickening of the right ventricle of the heart. That enlargement and thickening make it harder for the heart to pump blood normally, which ultimately results in heart failure.
The following chronic lung conditions that may cause low oxygen levels in the blood can lead to cor pulmonale:
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- chronic blood clots in the lungs
- cystic fibrosis
- scarring of the lung tissue
- obstructive sleep apnea, which causes periods of stopped breathing during sleep
- shortness of breath and a pounding heart during exercise
- feeling lightheaded
- chest pain
- swelling in the legs, ankles and/or feet
- bluish tint to lips and fingers
1 AnswerCardiac tamponade is a life-threatening condition in which excess fluid around the heart compresses the heart, impairing the heart's ability to pump blood normally. Cardiac tamponade can occur after heart surgery, or result from infection, end-stage lung cancer, kidney failure, heart injury, or many other possible causes.
Symptoms of cardiac tamponade may include:
- shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- anxiety or restlessness
- chest pain that may get worse with coughing or deep breathing
- sharp pain in the neck, shoulder, abdomen or back
- heart palpitations
- pale, grayish or bluish skin
- stomach swelling
1 AnswerCorlanor (ivabradine) is a drug prescribed to treat certain patients suffering from chronic heart failure. Patients likely to benefit from taking twice-daily Corlanor tablets include those:
- whose lower-left heart is not pumping well
- whose heart failure symptoms are stable
- who are taking beta blockers at the highest dose they can tolerate
- who have a normal resting heartbeat of at least 70 beats per minute.
Corlanor is not recommended for pregnant women or those planning to become pregnant as it may cause fetal harm. Breastfeeding is also discouraged. Patients should report any adverse effects to their doctor right away; these may include dizziness, fatigue, low blood pressure, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Patients with a history of liver impairment should avoid this drug. Patients are also advised to avoid grapefruit juice and St. John's wort while taking Corlanor.
1 AnswerDr. Samuel T. Rougas, MD , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered on behalf of Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center