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January 30, 2008 > Don't Let Disease Steal Your Heart

Don't Let Disease Steal Your Heart

Washington Hospital Seminar Focuses on Heart Healthy Strategies for Women

You may think heart disease is for men. But did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States?
Many women still think cancer is the biggest threat to their health. The truth is nearly twice as many women die from heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases than from all forms of cancer, including breast cancer, according to the American Heart Association. In fact, 40 percent of all female deaths each year are due to coronary heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.
"The good new is there are ways to reduce your risk of getting heart disease," said Dr. Timothy Tsoi, chair of Cardiology at Washington Hospital, who will present an upcoming seminar titled "Heart Healthy Strategies for Women."
The Lunch and Learn session is scheduled for noon on Thursday, February 7, at the Washington Hospital Women's Center, 2500 Mowry Avenue, in Fremont. For more information or to reserve a space, call (510) 608-1356.
Tsoi will talk about some of the following risks factors and provide practical tips for preventing heart disease. He will address specific issues such as hormone replacement therapy, testing for heart disease, and lifestyle changes that can improve your heart health.
The more risk factors a woman has, the greater her chances of having a heart attack or stroke. Some risk factors you can't change - like age, family health history, race and gender - but most you can modify or control.
Smoking is a major cause of heart disease in women. The chemicals in tobacco smoke damage the heart and blood vessels. Birth control pills can make matters worse. Women smokers who take the pills have a significantly higher risk of heart attack than nonsmokers who use them.
High blood cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in the arteries, which can narrow the arteries and restrict the flow of blood. Evidence shows that keeping LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels low and raising HDL or "good" cholesterol levels can actually stop coronary artery disease.
High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than normal, which leaves the heart and arteries more prone to injury. As a woman, you have an increased risk of high blood pressure if you are carrying an extra 20 pounds or more, have a family history of high blood pressure, are pregnant, are taking certain types of birth control, or have reached menopause. More than 73 percent of women ages 65 to 74 have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association.
Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are strong risk factors for heart disease and stroke. They are more common in post-menopausal women than in men of the same age. Studies show that heart disease is almost twice as likely to develop in those who are physically inactive, according to the American Heart Association. If you have too much body fat, especially if it is located in the waist area, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Women with diabetes have two to four times higher death rates from heart disease than women without diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To learn how to counter these risk factors with heart healthy strategies for women, attend the Lunch and Learn Session on Thursday, February 7 or visit To reserve a space at the Lunch and Learn session, please call (510) 608-1356.
For more information about other Washington Hospital programs and services, visit

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