Talk to me about preventative strategies. What are some ways for women to keep their hearts healthy?
Dr. Alfred Bove:
Well, I would say that the same rules apply for men and women, that is, you’ve got to be watching your cardiovascular risk factors, those include blood lipids, cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and HDL, those are important. You don’t want to be a smoker because smoking damages the inner lining of the blood vessels and make sure that risk refers to us.
You don’t want to have high blood pressure and you’d certainly not like to have diabetes. Those are the key risk factors and you can’t change your family history. If your parents had heart disease, well, you know you can’t go back and yell at your parents, that’s the way it is, but you can modify diabetes, you can modify cigarette smoking, you can modify blood lipids, you can modify hypertension and you can modify exercise and those are the key things that everybody should adhere to.
I think the basic message is that women as well as men respond by significant reductions of risk if they pay attention to these factors and fix them and get them straight down. We have good medications to manage blood lipids, low blood pressure. We have good medications to manage high blood pressure.
The obesity problem is a big problem right now and it’s common in women, may be a little more common in women than men but that induces diabetes, so part of the issue is exercise and weight control, big problem in the United States right now. So that’s another message.
Exercise, eat appropriately, keep your weight normal, get your blood lipids straight down by either diet or medication, get your blood pressure straight down by diet or medication and don’t smoke. Those are the key elements for minimizing risk for heart disease and they are true for men and women.
Dr. Alfred Bove, MD, PhD is a Temple University professor emeritus of medicine, and their section chief of cardiology. Dr. Bove practices clinical cardiology with particular emphasis on heart failure, heart transplantation and he’s the Vice President of the American College of Cardiology.