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A heart healthy reminder for young women

Dr. Nieca Goldberg started the "Go Red For Women" campaign in 2004 and says we still have a long way to go to increase heart health awareness.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Taking care of your heart and cardiovascular system is key to a long lasting life. Yearly physicals help doctors identify possible problem areas that need to be addressed right away.

Cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Medical Director of the NYU Women's Heart Program started the "Go Red For Women" campaign in 2004 with the American Heart Association, when the campaign started 1 in every 2 women lost their lives to heart disease in the U.S.  Now 1 in 3 still women die of heart disease in the U.S.  Heart disease remains the greatest health risk to women.

However, these days Dr. Goldberg cites a recent survey that shows that women's heart disease awareness has dropped again by 20 percent.

"What was interesting about that survey is that women over 60 were more aware that heart disease was their leading health risk, and now we really need to focus on younger women to take care of their heart," says Dr. Goldberg.

Smoking is a factor that can triple a women's risk of having a heart attack.

Dr. Goldberg says, "When you're younger you may have good blood pressure and your cholesterol might be great but you know a lot of young women are smoking.  So that negates all of the good cholesterol and good blood pressure."

Some conditions that do occur in younger women can increase risk for heart disease. Dr Goldberg says, "So for instance women who have preeclampsia, or hypertension of pregnancy, or diabetes of pregnancy also known as gestational diabetes, those can raise heart disease rates in mid-life."

Certain inflammatory conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can also lead to clogged arteries in women. "So we want to work with doctors who care with those women to also consider counseling them about their heart disease risks," adds Dr. Goldberg.

Dr. Goldberg also warns that doctors are seeing an increase in blood clotting in covid-19 patients that can lead to heart attacks and recovered patients have been reporting faster heart rates. Dr Goldberg says, "But over time when I'm following some of them over a few months with hydration and just recuperation, the heart rates improve."

Dr. Goldberg shares these tips for everyone:

  • Those with autoimmune disease, had a pregnancy that included gestation diabetes or preeclampsia.
  • Not exercising enough or watching their diet - especially the intake of processed food – loaded with sugar and salt.
  • Plus, many people are still smoking.
  • Don’t forget the importance of sleep – sleep patterns or lack of them play a factor in blood pressure and elevated sugar which contribute to heart disease.
  • And heart attacks continue to increase in men and women – when people don’t know their risk factors or don’t have access to strong health care.

You can hear Dr. Goldberg on Doctor Radio Sirius XM, she is the host of "Beyond the Heart".