Dr. Volgman shares how a woman's heart is affected by a vitamin D deficiency.
That’s a great question. It’s only recently that we have appreciated the importance of vitamin D deficiency. Just this past January of 2008, there was a study, the Framingham Offspring Study, that showed that if a patient or a person has vitamin D deficiency, level less than 50 nanograms/ml and they are hypertensive, they have high blood pressure, their risk is more than twice the risk of somebody who has high blood pressure but a good vitamin D level.
So it markedly increases a patient’s risk of having a heart attack. It’s even more important because women are being given calcium by their primary care physician and by their gynecologist to prevent bone loss from osteoporosis. And there was a study in Finland that showed that women who are being given calcium without vitamin D had twice the risk of heart attacks than women who are not being given calcium.
So, all these women who are being given calcium without vitamin D may be at risk for a heart attack just by the fact that they are being given calcium. Now the WHI study also studied these women, but they were given calcium with vitamin D, and they didn’t see an increase in heart attacks. So the conclusion may be that if you are getting calcium, you need to be given vitamin D as well.
In one of the most interesting things that I have been finding out in my Heart Center for Women is that there are many women who have chest pains that we can’t understand what it’s being caused by, and they are the ones who are vitamin D deficient, and I give them the vitamin D and their chest pains go away. So this is one of the best things that I can help women with. It is like a miracle for them. They come to the Heart Center for Women not really thinking I was going to be able to help them, and all of a sudden, I am finding out that they just need a little vitamin D, and they think that I am a great doctor, which is great for me.
About Dr. Volgman, M.D., F.A.C.C.:
Annabelle S. Volgman is associate professor of medicine and medical director of the Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Dr. Volgman graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University, and received her medical doctorate degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York. She received her internal medicine training at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics and her cardiology fellowship training at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. She was a fellow in clinical electrophysiology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Illinois Masonic Medical Center under Richard Kehoe, M.D.
Dr. Volgman has published numerous abstracts and articles in multiple topics of women and heart disease as well as cardiac electrophysiology. She is currently president of the Metro Chicago Board of Directors of the AHA. She has been a prominent leader of the Go Red for Women movement and has received numerous awards from the American Heart Association. She has been listed in several lists of top doctors and was named a top doctor in the January 2008 issue of “Chicago Magazine.” She has been interviewed by numerous media about health issues and was featured in “O” magazine as Oprah Winfrey’s cardiologist.
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