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Heart Health: What Do Women Need To Know?

By EmpowHER
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More Videos from EmpowHER 30 videos in this series

Kim shares what all women need to know to properly care for their heart health.

Women need to be their own advocate. They need to educate themselves. They need to be persistent. If they don’t feel well they need to be persistent. They need not to be told that it’s all in your head. They need not to be told, “Well I can’t see anything on this test,” because chances are the test that’s been done wasn’t designed for woman in the first place. So I need to be persistent and say, “This isn’t right. I know this isn’t right.”

They need to, when I say educate themselves, not believe the thing that they read or they hear in the nightly news or in the weekly magazine because, for instance, we all stop taking estrogen because we thought it caused heart disease and now they are finding out that that test was flawed for younger women and shouldn’t be applied to younger women.

And so, you really have to be persistent in, “But this isn’t right.” And you have to say, “Is there something specifically designed for women? When was the last time you were educated in cardiac care for women,” and really be persistent and if the doctor is not going to satisfy that answer go find another one because you are not stuck, and sometimes you need to do more than just your OB/GYN appointment every year. You need to go on to the cardiologist but ask, “How many women do you take care of? Where do you get your continuing education in women’s heart health? Are you doing that?”

And then, just if you don’t feel good you have to stick with it and you can’t ignore and the hard part is that you can have a flutter in your heart or you can have something happen that is easily ignored, but if it keeps happening you shouldn’t be ignoring it because we’ll say, “Oh it’s, I am perimenopausal; it’s part of menopause,” or something like that. Well don’t self-diagnose.

Go find someone who can diagnose and has the right tools and uses the right equipment and understands that a cardiac stress test that they put men on is probably not going to look at the same thing that women would have, or if you go so far as to have a catheterization and you are having an angiogram but it’s not looking at small vessels and women have small vessel heart disease, not the big coronary artery heart disease as often as men do.

So you have to be persistent. You have to educate yourself and you have to make sure that that doctor really, really knows that you are coming to him or her for excellence in women’s cardiac care and that they can deliver that to you.

Conditions: Sudden Cardiac Death, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Heart Disease, Endocarditis, Atrial Fibrillation

Related Terms: Heart Health Advocate, Cardiology, Heart Survivor, EKG, Cardiac Problem, Women's Heart Center, Heart Valve Replacement, Heart Transplant

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