Thursday, March 20, 2008


Research is evolving. There are two major changes amongst cardiologists when it comes to treating heart disease in women. In the treatment of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart failure, not much is new. We do have better stents, stronger defibrillators, and fun pacemakers to play with. Add to that a belief that a more agressive approach to decreasing your bad cholesterol (LDL to less than 70mg/dl)with drugs is important.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We've heard all this before right? So, what is new?
Well, two things. First, hormone therapy. This is the use of oral meds to replace hormones lost when a woman reaches menopause. An example would be taking estrogen.

Recently, hormone therapy has fallen out of favor because research found it didn't actually protect women against heart disease and would increase a her chances of having a stroke. Well, who wants that to happen?

There is new evidence to suggest that when a woman uses hormone therapy, timing is extremely important. If hormone therapy is used ten to fifteen years after menopause, it increases a woman's risk of heart disease by actually accelerating a heart attack. Here is the catch, a woman needs to start hormone therapy at the time she begins menopause. This prevents clogged arteries. That is HUGE!

Another thing we start in the hospital after a patient suffers a heart attack which is not new, but effective, is Cardiac Rehab. A therapist works one on one with a patient with diet, exercise, stress reduction, screening for depression, and social support. It is extremely important for you to continue Cardiac Rehab once you are discharged from the hospital. Why? Because if you have suffered a heart attack, you have a 20 to 30 percent chance to lower your risk of death if you do. Repeated heart attacks is a blog for another day, but that number to me is HUGE!

So far, the best way to stay heart healthy is by eating right, exercise, and don't smoke. Those are the risk factors you can control. If you missed my post on risk factors for heart disease, check out my archived blogs.

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