Cardio Metabolic Health Congress – Official Blog

The Importance of Women’s Cardiovascular Health

February is not only designated as American Heart Month, it is also recognized as a month to commemorate women’s cardiovascular disease: the number one cause of death among females. Statistics indicate that women are twice as likely to die from cardiovascular disease than they are from breast cancer, and up to 40% of all premature deaths before the age of 75 occur due to cardiovascular disease. A recent article in Medscape notes that despite these recognized findings, women’s heart disease is often under-recognized and under-treated—and women are less likely to receive appropriate, timely, evidence-based treatments.

Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, outlines reasons surrounding why women with CVD often experience ‘suboptimal’ care. Having worked on a recently published study in the Journal of the American Heart Association titled “Gender Differences in Patient-Reported Outcomes Among Adults with Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease,” the data ultimately concluded that women with ASCVD were more likely to report poorer patient experience, lower health-related quality of life, and poorer perception of their health when compared with men. 1 in 4 women reported “dissatisfaction with their healthcare experience,” in addition to “poor communication with providers”—additionally noting that doctors did not fully listen to them.

Professor of cardiology at Keele University Mamas Mamas notes that the higher risks of CVD among women may begin at a much younger age; division chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona, Dr. Martha Gulati, focuses on factors including certain high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Gulati notes that while clinicians often look at ‘traditional risk scores,” physicians are often not discussing future cardiovascular risk with female patients: given that hypertension, and diabetes, often resolve during pregnancy. Dr. Gulati states that “we really need to be screening for these adverse pregnancy outcomes when they occur, informing them about their future cardiovascular risk.” The University of Arizona has created new resources and guidelines titled Heart to Heart to specifically educate women on their ‘risk-enhancing factors,’ in order to properly address overall cardiovascular risk.

Additional gaps in female care include women with breast cancer, all of whom are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, in addition to women with rheumatological disorders: including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Women with HIV are also diagnosed with heart disease at higher rates; moreover, younger women continue to remain a high-risk group. Lastly, Dr. Annabel Volgman, professor of Medicine at the Rush Medical Center in Chicago, notes the ways in which women have worse cardiovascular risk factor profiles than men. Women often present with different forms of heart disease, often having microvascular disease instead of obstructive coronary artery disease. Women can also have heart attacks ‘triggered by emotional events,’ termed stress cardiomyopathy.

Given the striking disparities in women’s cardiovascular health, it is critical to further investigate the reasons behind the inequalities. All of the aforementioned findings have important implications in the realm of public health, and collectively require additional research towards understanding the gender-specific differences in the quality, delivery, and outcomes in healthcare. Attend our CMHC West Women’s Health Summit: Navigating Female Cardiometabolic Care for the latest clinical research in women’s cardiometabolic health, and hands-on strategies to implement effective approaches into practice.

Heart Health on Valentine’s Day

February is not only famous for Valentine’s Day, but it also celebrates American Heart Month: an optimal time to teach ourselves about heart health. With this month, we hope that many people not only make a commitment to their loved ones, but also teach themselves how to maintain a healthy heart.

This month, remind people to raise awareness about heart disease among their family, friends, and communities:

  • Heart / cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects nearly half of American adults, accounting for 840,678 deaths in the U.S. in 2016: approximately 1 of every 3.
  • CVD claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer and chronic respiratory disease combined.
  • CVD is the leading global cause of death, accounting for more than 17.6 million deaths per year in 2016: a number expected to grow to more than 23.6 million by 2030, according to a 2014 study.

Because of this, it is critical to remain aware of all the facts and symptoms that can contribute to heart disease. Moreover, knowledge surrounding prevention measures is equally important: as it is key in maintaining a high-quality life throughout the aging process.

Facts About Heart Diseases:

Coronary Heart Disease

  • In 2016, coronary heart disease (CHD) was the leading cause (43.2%) of death attributable to cardiovascular disease. CHD occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart is blocked, putting excess strain on the muscle. If left unattended, CHD can lead to angina, heart attack, and heart failure.


  • Someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds on average.
  • In 2016, strokes accounted for approximately 1 of every 19 deaths in the U.S.
  • In 2016, on average, someone died of a stroke every 3 minutes and 42 seconds.
  • When considered separately from other cardiovascular diseases, stroke ranks #5 among all causes of death in the U.SS, killing approximately 142,000 people a year.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

  • In 2016, any-mention sudden cardiac arrest mortality in the U.S. was 366,494.
  • According to data access in 2017, most of the Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) occur at a home or residence (69.5 %). Public settings (18.8%) and nursing homes (11.7 %) were the second and third most common locations of OHCA.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack:

  • Breathlessness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain; pain in one or both arms
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Heartburn

Prevention Measures:

  • Quit smoking
  • Stay physically active
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Take care of body weight
  • Control your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar
  • Manage stress

We hope that everyone takes care of their heart health. We wish you all a happy and healthy Valentine’s Day!