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Heart Health: Know the Facts

A message from the president of Greenwich Hospital 

True or false? 

Women are less likely than men to experience crushing chest pain when a heart attack strikes. 

Women develop heart disease later in life than men and are more likely to have poorer outcomes should they experience a cardiac event. 
More women die of heart disease in the United States than of breast cancer. 

All of these statements are true, yet only half of the women in the United States realize that heart disease is their number one killer. (In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.) One in four women die from heart-related issues. 

These hard-to-ignore statistics underscore the need for increased prevention and education to raise awareness about women and heart disease. That’s why we’re taking proactive steps at the Yale New Haven Health Women’s Cardiovascular Center at Greenwich Hospital. The center takes a holistic, team approach to heart health with a cardiologist, registered dietitian and exercise physiologist who work together to tailor an individualized care plan for each patient.

As Marisa Telesca notes in our cover story, the center provides a supportive environment for women to explore their heart health, from identifying risk factors for heart disease to learning about lifestyle changes that can lead to a heart-healthy life.

 We’re also committed to educating the medical community about the atypical heart attack symptoms women experience, which can be easily misdiagnosed. Unlike men, women are more likely to have symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as heartburn, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, sweating, dizziness, extreme fatigue, and neck, jaw, shoulder and back pain. 

The good news, as Telesca learned, is that women can reduce their risk for heart disease with medication and lifestyle changes. She’s taking small steps that have a big impact, such as eating nutritious food, staying physically active and practicing stress-reducing techniques.

These are important lessons we all can keep close to our hearts.

Norman G. Roth, President