FEBRUARY IS HEART MONTH!
February usually makes us think of everything Valentine’s Day, but let's take a minute to think about Heart Disease in women.
The leading cause of death for women in the United States is heart disease which accounts for over 22% of the deaths. You may have had a basic lipid panel and CT heart scan, and been told that your ratios are “normal”. Yet half the people that have their first heart attack actually have normal cholesterol values, so we often need to look beyond just cholesterol screenings to get the full picture of a woman’s heart health.
At Modern Women’s Health, we order a Cleveland Heart Panel which assesses cardiovascular inflammation. This panel can indicate plaque instability or rupture and microvascular dysfunction. Less than 50% of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) occurs in people without significantly abnormal lipids. Vessel Inflammation is thought to be the reason. A CT heart scan evaluates the level of calcified plaque around coronary vessels, but not soft plaque. A carotid Doppler (sonogram of your neck vessels) can help determine if you have narrowing of the vessels or changes in blood flow that can be seen with soft and calcified plaque.
If through this testing, a patient is identified to have an elevated risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease, it is important to review specific preventative measures. These can be lifestyle changes which can include avoidance of processed foods, excess sugars and alcohol; smoking cessation; blood pressure reduction; weight loss; exercise increase; intermittent fasting; or use of supplements like omega 3s, vitamin D, berberine, bergamot, etc.
Data also suggests that starting hormone therapy when younger than age 60 or within 10 years of menopause is associated with reduced CV disease risk. At Modern Women’s Health, we use Biote®, a bioidentical hormone replacement therapy designed to balance hormone levels. The menopause transition is associated with increased cardiac risk making midlife an important time to implement positive lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, data suggests that only 7.2% of women transitioning to menopause are meeting physical activity guidelines and fewer than 20% of those are consistently maintaining a healthy diet. This is very important since a large number of women will spend up to 40% of their lives after menopause.
Schedule an appointment to discuss your risk factors for heart disease and appropriate screening tests. We are committed to keeping our patients healthy and want to reduce your chance of heart disease.
Love your heart!