Cardiologist Promotes Awareness, Education During Heart Month|
FORT WORTH, Texas — Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States — claiming more lives than all forms of cancer combined. This toll includes an average of 64 women in Texas every day.
So during American Heart Month in February, the American Heart Association (AHA) and its Go Red For Women movement urge everyone to support the fight against heart disease in women by wearing red on Feb. 7, National Wear Red Day.
“It's critically important for women to realize that heart disease can happen to them, and that everyday choices about diet and fitness make a difference,” said Dr. Nina Asrani, a cardiologist on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle and at Consultants in Cardiology, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice. “Women can help themselves by living healthy, active lifestyles, maintaining a healthy diet and working alongside their physician.”
Women have a higher risk for heart disease because they’re less likely to suspect heart disease in themselves — and often dismiss symptoms. Women also may have symptoms that are less specific — feeling tired or short of breath, aching in their arms or jaws — and attribute these to other causes.
While basic risk factors for heart disease are generally the same between men and women — hypertension, high cholesterol, family history, smoking and diabetes — since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease and stroke, and the gap between men and women’s survival continues to widen, according to the AHA.
“Symptoms of cardiovascular disease may not be noticeable until the disease is advanced,” Asrani said. “That’s why it’s important to have routine screenings to check for heart disease, even if you think you’re not at risk.”
It’s essential for women to know their family history, particularly the heart health of their parents and siblings, to lower their risk of heart disease and diabetes. Women with diabetes are three and a half times more like to die from heart disease than women who don’t have diabetes — almost twice the relative risk for fatal heart disease in men with diabetes compared to those without.
“It’s important to assess your overall risk of heart disease, as that determines how aggressively risk factors like high cholesterol should be treated,” she said. “Controlling diabetes cannot be overemphasized, especially in women. It’s a giant risk factor.”
For more information, visit TexasHealth.org/Heart.
The American Heart Association recommends that patients know and manage their critical health numbers, which can include developing a plan with their physician that may include diet, exercise and medication.
— Dr. Nina Asrani
About Texas Health Physicians Group
Physicians employed by Texas Health Physicians Group practice independently and are not employees of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.
About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth
About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Azle