Dr Oz: Women’s Heart Disease Risk Factors
Dr Oz’s segment on New Heart Disease Risk Factors for Women was truly eye opening. If you are a woman, then chances are that everything you know about heart disease could be wrong. Doctors have studied the number one killer in this country (Heart Disease) in men, but only recently have we started to learn how Women’s Heart Disease Risk Factors differ from men’s risk factors. I also highly recommend reading about the heart problem that Star Jones had that the majority of us have not even heard of before: Dr Oz Star Jones Aortic Valve Malfunction
Dr Oz: Heart Disease Risk Factors For Women
Doctor Oz asked a very important question – why for the past 20 years have more women than men died from Heart Disease? 1 in 4 women die from Heart Disease now, which is triple the number of deaths from Breast Cancer and Lung Cancer combined. Yet Heart Disease in men has decreased over the last 25 years.
Dr Oz: Dr Noel Bairey Merz
Dr Noel Bairey Merz, cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai in LA, joined Dr Oz because she has been a trail blazer in Women’s Heart Disease. In men, blood sugar, cholesterol and high blood pressure are risk factors for heart disease, but women can be at a low risk based on these factors and still have heart disease. Clearly the strategies in place to help men just do not work for women, so until we focus on women, we will have women dying from Heart Disease. We need more risk factors and predictors of Heart Disease in Women, and that is exactly what Dr Noel Bairey Merz studies.
Dr Oz Women’s Heart Disease Risk Factor: HDL Cholesterol Levels
The first risk factor for women to look out for is HDL Cholesterol Levels. Doctor Oz said that these are the good and healthy cholesterol numbers that are important for our arteries. A normal artery that you are born with is clean and pristine, but by the time you are in your 40’s and 50’s you get plaque in your arteries. Even as early as your 20’s this can happen sometimes. The HDL Cholesterol helps to remove the plaque and cleans your arteries. It used to be that both men and women were told to have a HDL Level of 40 or higher, but this is only good enough for men. Women need to have a HDL Level of 50 or above to protect against arterial plaque because our bodies work differently than a man’s body.
Dr Oz: Menstrual Cycle & Women’s Heart Disease
Dr Oz said that the second Risk Factor for Heart Disease in Women is having irregular periods. Generally, irregular periods indicates one of two conditions: PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or Inadequate Ovulation which means you have low estrogen levels. Basically if your hormones are not working perfectly, then you can get irregular periods where you skip a cycle one month and then have a very short cycle another month, and this happens fairly often. Dr Oz asked Dr Noel Bairey Merz how people can differentiate between this and Perimenopause. She said that Perimenopause occurs between the ages of 40 and 50, so if you are younger than 45, then you should be concerned about irregular periods.
Dr Oz: Pregnancy Complications & Women’s Heart Disease
The final Women’s Heart Disease Risk Factor is having complications during pregnancy. All of the following pregnancy complications can put you at a greater risk of having heart disease, which is why Barbara Streisand had started a new foundation to support this:
Dr Oz: Preeclampsia
Dr Oz: Gestational Diabetes
Dr Oz: High Blood Pressure
When you are pregnant, your body wants more sugar because the baby wants sugar, but if you have Gestational Diabetes then this can put you at a higher risk of having Diabetes when you get older. We used to think that these three complications would go away after the baby was born, but it turns out that when you get these problems during pregnancy, you are in trouble even after your baby is born. This is why Dr Noel Bairey Merz said that it is so important to talk to your doctor in your 30’s – 60’s about any complications you had during your previous pregnancies, so that you can setup an appropriate screening schedule to make sure you do not develop problems that you are now predisposed for.