Dr. Mehmet Oz is host of the popular TV show “The Dr. Oz Show.” He is a professor in the Department of Surgery at Columbia University and directs the Cardiovascular Institute and Complementary Medicine Program and New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

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Tags: womens health | heart attack | cholesterol | dr. oz

Women's Heart Health Often Gets Overlooked

By and Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:19 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In a 2018 opinion piece for USA Today, singer Barbra Streisand, founder of the Women's Heart Alliance and the Cedars-Sinai Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center, wrote, "Today in America, women are being sent to early graves because our country has failed to combat a disease that kills more of us annually than all forms of cancer combined." 

It turns out that neglect of women's heart health happens repeatedly in primary care physicians' offices. Researchers looked at more than 43 international studies with 2.2 million patients and found that primary care doctors write fewer prescriptions for aspirin, statins, and ACE-inhibitors (high blood pressure drugs) for women who are at high risk for a heart attack or have established cardiovascular disease than for similarly endangered men.

In fact, women receive 19% fewer aspirin prescriptions, 10% fewer statin prescriptions and 15% fewer prescriptions for ACE-inhibitors than men. 

That means women need to be vigilant guardians of their heart health by making sure primary care doctors regularly check inflammation markers, LDL cholesterol levels, and blood pressure, and discuss the potential repercussions of the results.

If you have elevated blood pressure and/or LDL cholesterol, or a chronically high level of inflammation and are not prescribed medication to combat it, ask why you’re not being given a prescription for those heart risks.     

If you're a woman with preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, or if you smoke cigarettes or are over age 60, then you have a higher risk for developing heart disease.

At annual checkups, your primary care physician should evaluate your heart health. You can empower yourself by tracking your blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference.

Also be aware that signs of heart attack can be different in women. They may include pain in the neck, jaw, shoulders, upper back, and abdomen, as well as shortness of breath, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, and nausea.

Finally, if you feel your primary care physician isn't giving you the care you need, consider making an appointment with a cardiologist, who can conduct a full workup and make decisions on which medications to prescribe.

© King Features Syndicate


   
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It turns out that neglect of women's heart health happens repeatedly in primary care physicians' offices.
womens health, heart attack, cholesterol, dr. oz
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2020-19-17
Wednesday, 17 June 2020 12:19 PM
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