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Women's Heart Health - Interview with Katherine Durham, M.D.

Women and Heart Health Q&A

Katherine Durham, MD

Unity Health Cardiology Clinic

February 2023

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, but paying attention to risk factors and living a healthy lifestyle can help keep your heart healthy.

What are the risk factors for heart disease?

Uncontrolled, high blood pressure and cholesterol are key risk factors for heart disease but other risk factors and lifestyle choices may include:

  • Diabetes
  • Eating an unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Smoking

What are symptoms of a heart attack in women?

Symptoms of a heart attack in women can differ from men. Chest pain is the most common symptom for both women and men, but symptoms of a heart attack in women may include:

  • pressure or tightness in the chest
  • pain in the upper back, arms, neck, jaw or throat
  • dizziness
  • unusual fatigue
  • indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting
  • stomach pain
  • shortness of breath

Can heart disease be prevented?

Yes! Know your heart health by scheduling annual check-ups with your doctor to assess your heart-health risk, and become knowledgeable with your health numbers- blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Getting enough sleep, managing stress, eating healthy, and exercising can also help keep your heart healthy.