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June 2004 Issue
Women’s Heart Health: It’s Quite Different from Men’s
by Michael Fick
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In fact, women’s whole list of warning or full attack symptoms don’t sound like a big deal, do they? Well, think about that, ladies; maybe that’s why so many of you die unnecessarily! Your man and your doctor need to know those are “just female things”, all right -- potentially fatal ones. If your doctor thinks the primary symptom of a heart attack is pain, change doctors; yours is coasting. I’d find a physician who’s not surprised by this article, because it comes straight from Harvard, the NIH (see http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/nov2003/ninr-03.htm), and the AHA.

The gender differences in heart disease and attacks are not just statistical; they are medical, and they are just now coming to light. Men deposit their arterial plaque in clumps which may slough off and block arteries, and tests are designed to look for those blockages. Women’s plaque spreads out more evenly through their blood vessels, however, so a third of them who subsequently have heart attacks don’t present blockages and thus don’t raise test flags.

Do we have your attention? Good; that was our objective this month. You’ll have to wait another month for root factors, risk assessment, and preventative measures. In the meantime, add the enlightening, easy-to-read research result capsules in this link to your heart health file: http://www.womenheart.org/home_resources/resources_3.asp . Examples: men are better than women at adopting healthy habits, such as exercising and quitting smoking, and caring for their grandchildren nine hours each week increases a grandmother’s heart disease risk by 55%.

Bet we’ll see you ladies next month. In the meantime, have your doctor ease you off that estrogen-only therapy unless you really need it just to get through ”The Change”. HRT is dangerous long term.

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