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Women&Heart Disease

Video by Leslie Cho, M.D.

Director of the Cleveland Clinic's Women's Cardiovascular Center and Medical Director of the Section of Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation in the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

Specialties: cardiovascular medicine, internal medicine, interventional cardiology, peripheral vascular disease

Hello, I'm Dr. Leslie Cho and I'm the director of the Women's Cardiovascular Center at Cleveland Clinic. Heart Disease is long been considered a disease of men, but it's actually the number one killer in women. After the age of 50, women and men have the same incidents of heart disease.

Risk factors for heart disease in men are same as they are in women and they are:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Family History

Family history is something we cannot control, but the other four risk factors are something we can control. So if you're smoking, you need to stop smoking. And if you have never started, then that's good, and you need to know your blood pressure number, your cholesterol number, and control your diabetes, and leading a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet and excising regularly.

Symptoms of Heart Disease Differ Between Men and Women

For men, they have traditionally classic symptoms such as dull or crushing chest pain that radiates down the left arm or at the jaw. Women have more atypical symptoms such as shortness of breath, shortness of breath when they are exerting, nausea or fatigue. If you are having these symptoms it's important to seek professional help. Even if you have heart disease, there are many treatment options that can help you lead a healthier and happier lifestyle. And there have been treatments that can actually slow the progression of heart disease.

If you have any questions about risk factors, prevention, or treatment of heart disease, please seek us out at the Cleveland Clinic Women's Cardiovascular Center.

For More Information


Reviewed: 04/11

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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