Doc Talk: Women's Heart Health

Doc Talk: Women's Heart Health.

A new year may bring new health goals for many, but regardless of the New Year’s resolution, doctors at Borgess want to make people, especially women, have a healthy heart in 2018 and beyond.

Newschannel3's Erica Mokay talks about women’s heart health in Doc Talk.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States and 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.

What are those risk factors and what can be done now to lower the risk later?

Well, it turns out those answer might align perfectly with many New Year’s resolutions.

Dr. Robert Lapenna is a Borgess cardiologist and a life-long fixer of broken hearts who has seen plenty of patients.

Lapenna said, “Heart trouble is become much more common in otherwise populations that didn’t have it so much for example young woman.”

Those young women at a high risk scare him most.

Lapenna said, “They just don’t do as well, so they need to make major lifestyle changes immediately in order to preserve long term health and wellbeing. So when they're 90-years-old they can sit on the front porch and rock their great-grand babies. Otherwise the outlook is not good for a lot of them.”

Those lifestyle changes are the same ones doctors have been preaching for years: First, quit smoking. focus on good health, if you have issues like hypertension or diabetes, manage it closely. Finally, if you're like plenty of others and vowing to get active in 2018, your heart will thank you for it.

And while men may experience more obvious symptoms like heaviness, tightness or pressure in the chest, Lapenna say women often present symptoms of heart disease and they don't even realize it.

He said, “Are you having any chest pain? What I mean is, are you having any shortness of breath and easy fatigue-ability. That's their chest pain. So it's a terminology problem and that makes it a real challenge to diagnose and treat, particularly women.”

So ladies, if you notice something is off, there's changes or you have a concern, a little curiosity and communication could set you up for a healthier heart in the new year and for years to come.

Lapenna said, “The emphasis now with ‘Go Red’ is to pay particular attention to women and heart disease. Preventing it, treating it, following it closely and just trying to uncover people that might have blocked arteries so we can take care of it before it becomes a tragic occurrence.”

The Go Red for Women campaign is a push for everyone, especially women, to get talking and educated about heart health.

To help get the conversation started, Borgess is planning a few events next month for patients with questions and concerns.

A Go Red for Women luncheon will be held in Kalamazoo at the Radisson Plaza Hotel on February 9 and tickets can be purchased online or by contacting Allison Bis at or 517-319-1062.

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