Myths about Women’s Heart Disease

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Staff Photograph taken in StudioToday, an estimated 43 million American women suffer from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death among women. Dr. Christine Tanaka-Esposito, Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist at Fairview Hospital’s Heart Center, busts several common myths about women and heart disease:

  • Myth #1: Vitamins C and E help reduce the risk of heart disease. Neither supplement has been proven effective when it comes to reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Myth #2: Fish oils help reduce cholesterol. Fish oil only lowers triglyceride levels at high doses which can increase HDL, known as “good” cholesterol. It does not lower bad cholesterol LDL.
  • Myth #3: Women have lower cholesterol than men. Prior to menopause, women tend to have lower cholesterol than men and a similar cholesterol level following menopause.
  • Myth #4: Statins do not help women. Statins are effective in the treatment and prevention of coronary heart disease in both men and women.
  • Myth #5: Hormone replacement therapy helps with heart disease. Postmenopausal women should not take estrogen to try to prevent heart disease. Hormonal replacement therapy actually increases the likelihood of heart attack and death from heart disease in older women and those more than ten years from menopause. However, it poses little to no risk when used for short periods (six months) by women.
  • Myth #6: You don’t need to exercise if you are thin. If you don’t exercise regularly, you increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease, regardless of your physique.
  • Myth #7: Herbal supplements help. There is no evidence that multivitamins and antioxidants prevent heart disease.

5 Tips for Women and Heart Health
Today, an estimated 43 million American women suffer from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death among women. Dr. Christine Tanaka-Esposito, Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist at Fairview Hospital’s Heart Center, offers five tips for reducing and monitoring women’s heart disease risk:

  • Have your fasting glucose levels checked
  • Know your family history
  • Be a mindful eater and lead a healthy eating lifestyle
  • Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked
  • Exercise every day

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