American Heart Month: Local doctor shares what 3 conditions women should know about
FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSNewsTexas.com) — This February, we're talking about your heart and there are certain health conditions that could put women at a higher risk of heart disease.
Dr. James Herd, the chief medical officer at Baylor Scott and White All Saints, says there are three conditions everyone should know about.
"The thoughts on that are...is it pro-inflammatory conditions with endometriosis affecting the heart?"
With endometriosis, the tissue that lines the inner portion of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This can lead to increased inflammation, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Herd Says it's not necessarily a cause-and-effect, but there's definitely an association.
Premature ovarian failure
Either naturally or through hysterectomies, Dr. Herd says it's been known that estrogen is protective.
"So women have less of a risk of heart disease—i.e. heart attacks, coronary artery disease, all those things, premenopausal, and menopause—their risk goes up with men, and they kind of overshoot especially if they don't get on estrogen."
Pregnancy-related risk factors
Preeclampsia, gestational hypertension, preterm delivery, and gestational diabetes.
"Women that have those in pregnancy are at increased risk later for developing. It's not that the pregnancy caused it, but they're kind of a marker of things to come."
With that in mind, Dr. Herd encourages women to be proactive when it comes to their health, especially if they deal with any of these conditions.
He shared some questions women should ask their doctor:
- Do I need to see a specialist?
- Is my blood pressure OK?
- Should I monitor at home?
- What kind of blood work do I need?
"All those kind of things are very important."
A few other heatlh conditions that can affect your risk are hormone-based contraceptives, which—depending on what you're using—can affect your cholesterol levels.
Inflammatory conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, are strongly associated with cardiovascular disease.
Also, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal condition where your ovaries produce high levels of androgens, can affect your risk as it's linked to conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
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