Women and heart attacks: Recognize the risk factors

By Wendy Cornett

When it comes to health care concerns, women and men are not created equal.
“We now understand that women are genetically very different from men, and they do need specialized care,” explained Dr. Upamaka S. Rao of the Toledo Clinic. “They do need physicians who understand that women’s health issues are different from men’s, and they cannot treat men and women with the same medical problem equally.”
In fact, statistics regarding women and heart attacks are staggering.
“The No. 1 cause of death in women is heart disease,” Dr. Rao said. “And studies have shown that women’s survival rate (after a heart attack) is a lot lower than men’s.”
Post-menopausal women, in particular, need to be diligent about risk factors and keep their blood pressure, cholesterol and weight at healthy levels, Dr. Rao added.
Women in their so-called “golden years” may also experience greater levels of anxiety or depression – more heart attack risk factors – than their male counterparts because they may be juggling a job with children or grandchildren and the care of an elderly parent.
“A lot of studies show that women in their 50s, 60s and 70s are probably the most stressed of the entire gender population,” Dr. Rao said. “There is a very high incidence of anxiety disorders and depression in women, and we do know that depression and anxiety are risk factors for heart disease, risk factors for diabetes and risk factors for strokes. It’s important for women to recognize what they’re experiencing and seek help.”

Click on video for full interview.

Dr. Upamaka S. Rao

Toledo Clinic
7640 Sylvania Ave., Suite L
(419) 473-2273