Women and Heart Health: Reducing Your Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Touro Infirmary

Most of you are probably aware that February is National Heart Health Month.

But do you know the facts? As women – the facts matter to each of us.

Cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack take the life of one American woman every minute, which amount to almost 400,000 women per year. Heart disease kills more women each year than all forms of cancers combined. In fact, heart disease is the number one killer in Louisiana and America and can impact women at any age.

Traditionally and mistakenly, heart disease has had a stigma of being a “man’s disease.” But it is important for women to understand that heart disease does not only impact men. Since heart disease is often silent and not easy to detect, it is essential to recognize key warning signs to reduce your risk and keep your heart healthy. Remember, it is never too late to change your habits. 

What is cardiovascular disease?

  • CVD is heart and blood vessel diseases — diseases that affect the circulatory system.
  • Examples of CVD include:
    • High Blood Pressure (HBP)
    • Congenital Heart Defects
    • Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)
    • Stroke & Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
    • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
    • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)
  • Heart disease is our nation’s #1 killer, causing 41% of all deaths (more than the next 6 combined)  
  • 1 in 3 Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease
  • Every 33 seconds an American dies of cardiovascular disease

How can women (and men) protect themselves?

  • Know the warning signs
    • Chest discomfort
    • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach)
    • Shortness of breath
    • Other signs of discomfort (breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness)
  • Women are more likely than men to have signs / symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:
    • Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Sweating
    • Lightheadedness or dizziness
    • Unusual fatigue

Control Your “Manageable” Risk Factors

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Physical inactivity
  • Diabetes

Risk Factors More Specific to Women Include:

  • Metabolic syndrome — a combination of fat around your abdomen, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high triglycerides — has a greater impact on women than on men.
    • Mental stress and depression affect women’s hearts more than men’s.
    • Smoking is a greater risk factor for heart disease in women than in men.
    • Low levels of estrogen after menopause pose a significant risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease in the smaller blood vessels (small vessel heart disease).
  • Live heart healthy
    • Eat Healthy
    • Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes most   days of the week
    • Quit Smoking
    • Lose Excess Weight
    • Know your family history of heart disease

Women, Heart Health & Wine Tasting Event

Join Touro Infirmary for a Ladies Night Out & Wine Tasting.

Learn about women’s wellness, heart health, nutrition and enter to win raffle prizes. Plus, mingle with some of your favorite Touro physicians.

When :: Tuesday, February 7
Time :: 6 pm – 8 p.m.
Where :: Bin 428, 2801 Magazine St.

Click HERE to register or call (504) 897-8500.  

$10 per person includes wine tasting and heavy hors d’oeuvres. 

About Dr. Viviana Falco

Dr. Viviana Falco is a cardiologist with Touro’s Crescent City Cardiovascular Associates. Dr. Falco completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Orleans and her medical degree at Louisiana State University Medical School. She is board certified in a number of imaging methods, including echocardiography, nuclear cardiology, and cardiac computed tomography (CT). In addition, she obtained level 2 certification in Cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) Imaging from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis. These imaging methods use a computer to create images of the heart as it is beating, allowing her to take a closer look at the heart and major blood vessels with little risk to her patients. Dr. Falco is also a member of the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography and the New Orleans Chapter of the Louisiana State Medical Society.


  1. True, women are more likely to get heart diseases because they don’t have time to focus on their health. But that doesn’t mean that they have to suffer from this condition or any other condition. I found a website related what is heart diseases in which they have mentioned so many ideas by which not only women, but, anyone can maintain his/her health.


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