Women's Heart Health
At Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, we are dedicated to improving women’s heart health. Although more women die from heart disease than any other condition, women often don’t know their risk factors for heart attack. We are working to change that.
It’s easy to get busy with life and forget to take care of yourself. That’s why Memorial offers women’s heart screenings, for a low fee and with no physician referral needed. After your screening, we work with you to develop a personalized plan that can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Why Should Women Get Screened for Heart Disease?
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease and stroke affect about 44 million women in the United States. In fact, cardiovascular diseases kill one woman every 80 seconds and account for 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year. Women should also be aware of:
- Risk factors: Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men. About 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
- Heart attacks: Women are less likely than men to survive their first heart attack. Women’s heart attack symptoms can be different than men’s, so it is important for women to understand their symptoms.
- Prevention: Women can prevent 80 percent of heart disease and stroke events by educating themselves and making some lifestyle changes.
Caring for Women’s Hearts
At Memorial, we want to help you take control of your heart health. It starts with knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol readings and learning about your specific risk factors. We offer:
- Comprehensive heart screenings: Our heart screening packages offer something for every woman, at whatever stage you are in your journey of life, to reduce your heart attack risk.
- Individualized treatment plan: We look at the results of your screenings to determine your 10-year risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Each lifestyle change you make can reduce that risk. We work with you to get a plan in place, including diet, exercise habits and stress reduction.
- Microvascular disease diagnosis and treatment: Microvascular disease, or chest pain without any evidence of large coronary artery blockage, is far more common in women than men. Microvascular disease affects the heart’s tiny arteries, which are more difficult to see by traditional screening. Cardiologists are learning more about how microvascular disease can affect heart attack risk.
- Collaboration with other women’s specialists: Heart disease can affect women of all ages. Sometimes heart disease is linked to other conditions. For example, our cardiologists partner with OB/GYNs to treat pregnant women with heart conditions and follow their progress after delivery.
Comprehensive Heart Screenings
We have two screening packages for women: Low Risk and Intermediate Risk. We provide these screenings – which may not be covered by insurance – for a low out-of-pocket cost to make them affordable to more women.
After your screening, our nurse practitioners will review your results with you that same day. We’ll also send a copy of your results to your primary care doctor.
If further medical testing or treatment is required, you can see a cardiologist recommended by your primary care doctor, or we’ll recommend a Memorial cardiologist who specializes in women and heart disease. Such follow-up medical care is usually covered by health insurance.
Low-Risk Heart Screening Package for All Women
We recommend the Low Risk plan for women who have no symptoms of heart problems and no immediate relatives with heart disease or a history of heart attack. The plan includes:
- Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk assessment. We estimate your 10-year and lifetime risk for developing heart disease – the cause of most heart attacks and stroke. ASCVD risk includes age, sex, race, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, systolic blood pressure, use of blood pressure-lowering medications, diabetes status and smoking status.
- Blood pressure check
- Body mass index (BMI) measurement
- Cholesterol analysis
- Coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factor assessment
- Electrocardiogram (EKG), a noninvasive test that records your heart’s electrical activity
- Glucose analysis, to measure your blood sugar
- History and physical exam
- Individual prevention plan, to help you reduce your ASCVD risk
- Pregnancy history: hypertension, diabetes or pre-eclampsia during pregnancy
Intermediate Risk Heart Screening Package
We also offer the Intermediate Risk plan for women with a strong family history of heart disease, hypertension or diabetes. A strong family history means at least one immediate family member who has heart disease or died of a heart attack at a young age. The plan includes everything from the Low Risk plan plus these tests:
- Screening echocardiogram, a noninvasive imaging test that uses sounds waves to take pictures of your heart, so we can study how efficiently your heart functions
- Hemoglobin A1c test (HbgA1c), a blood test to determine your risk of diabetes
- Microalbuminuria test, a urine test to identify early kidney disease
Cardiac CT for Calcium Scoring (Coronary Calcium Score)
For women with an increased risk of heart disease or diabetes, we also offer a test called cardiac computed tomography (CT) for calcium scoring. Cardiac CT for calcium scoring uses a type of X-ray that lets us look at the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.
This imaging helps us determine if there is a buildup of plaque, which could cause the arteries supplying the heart to narrow or be blocked. This test helps us learn more about your risk for CAD and heart attack. Additional testing may be required for people with a high calcium score.
Microvascular Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment
Microvascular disease affects the heart’s tiny arteries, which are more difficult to see by traditional screening. Cardiologists are learning more about how microvascular disease can affect heart attack risk. At Memorial, we are working to diagnose and treat women who have this type of chest pain, and two of our cardiologists have special interest in this topic.
NOTE: Microvascular Disease Diagnosis and Testing is not part of the Screening Packages and may be covered by health insurance.
To schedule an appointment or learn more about women’s heart screenings, call 954-265-2328.