Dr. Kevin Campbell, Chief Medical Correspondent
This week, Carrie Fisher died from complications related to a massive heart attack suffered while flying home from London. According to reports, Fisher had a cardiac arrest on the plane and was resuscitated by fellow passengers while making an emergency landing in Los Angeles.
I discussed these tragic events along with women’s heart health on Fox News Channel this week. This is a topic we don’t talk about enough.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States today. While most think that heart disease is a disease of men, in actuality, both genders are effected equally. In fact, more women than men actually die of heart disease every single year. One in four women will die from heart disease, making it a woman’s greatest health risk.
Heart disease may be more difficult to diagnose in women as compared to men. Typically, men present with classic symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath when they are having a heart attack. Women, in contrast, may present with very atypical symptoms such as nausea, pain in the back or shoulder, flu like symptoms or even a feeling of dread. The way in which women present with heart attack symptoms makes it much more difficult to diagnosis; many are under-treated and underserved.
What are the Risk factors?
Risk factors for heart disease are the same in men and women. Most common risk factors include: Obesity, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Family History of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Tobacco Smoking. Other than family history, most of these risks are modifiable — meaning that women can make lifestyle changes that can improve their heart health.
What Can Women Do to Take Control of Their Own Heart Health?
The most important thing every woman can do is to engage in their own heart health. It is vital that every women assesses her own level of risk and work with their healthcare provider to modify that risk. Make sure you find a provider who will listen to you and take you seriously — if not, find another doctor.
Dr Kevin Campbell, MD, FACC is chief medical correspondent for Bold.global. Dr. Campbell is an internationally recognized Cardiologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm disorders. Dr. Campbell is the Medical Expert for WNCN and appears weekly on the CBS morning news and also makes frequent appearances nationally on Fox News, CBS, and HLN.