Women’s Heart Health ~ Ask An Expert Q&A

Women’s Heart Health ~ Ask An Expert Q&A

August 28, 2019 0 By Bertrand Dibbert


– Hi, my name is Chippy
Nalluri, and I’m a Cardiologist at Sarasota Memorial
Hospital, and I’m here today to answer questions about
women’s heart health. – [Interviewer] Thank
you for speaking with us today Dr. Nalluri, can you please explain how women’s heart disease differs
from heart disease in men? – By the time a woman
presents with heart disease, in general she’s 10
years older than a man. Therefore, when she presents
with her first heart attack, not only is she older but she
has greater comorbidities, meaning she’s been a diabetic for longer, she’s had high blood pressure for longer, has been battling high cholesterol, she could have other disease processes such as kidney disease present for longer. Therefore, the heart
attack just doesn’t become a heart attack, there are complications that can occur because she has other disease processes that are in full-swing. Women tend to have a greater
risk of heart failure and arrhythmia than having
just a heart attack. – [Interviewer] Thank
you, what are the symptoms of heart disease that
women should look for? – Previously, we used to
make a big differential between symptoms a woman
feels and what a man feels, but what we are finding is
women have very much the typical symptoms we talk about
regarding heart disease. She can come in with
substernal chest pressure, pain, discomfort, it can
radiate into her arms, up her neck, through the back. She can break out into a sweat, get lightheaded, dizzy, similar symptoms. Again, these symptoms could
be brought on with exertion, however, what we’re finding
is women tend to have these symptoms at rest, it
can wake them up from sleep, or it could be precipitated
by an intense emotion such as a very difficult emotional stress. – [Interviewer] What factors can put women at higher risk of
developing heart disease, and what can we do to reduce our risk? – The factors that lead
to heart disease in women, similar to factors that lead
to heart disease in men. The very typical factors
that we see very commonly: smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, certain
inflammatory disease processes, having chronic kidney
disease, and importantly, poor physical activity, poor
function, poor nutrition are all contributing
factors for heart disease. What can we do? Fortunately, 90% of heart
disease can be prevented with changing modifiable risk factors, meaning you could stop smoking. With diabetes, we are finding that so much of diabetes can be dramatically improved or even resolved with lifestyle changes. You can control your blood pressure, you can control your cholesterol, again, through diet, physical
activity, stress management. When we talk about what can
we do to reduce the risk, there’s actually four pillars. One is food, nutrition
is extremely important to not just heart disease
but what we are finding disease of affluence,
disease of the modern man. Physical activity, fundamentally important to reduce all traditional risk
factors for heart disease. Also, stress management,
so practicing something throughout the day that
reduces your level of stress. We are finding that stress
is an underlying cause for so many disease processes. The fourth is to have love. Love and social connection
we are finding to be exceptionally important,
so when you put these four modifiable things together
in a person’s life you can dramatically reduce heart disease, and again, many chronic illnesses. – [Interviewer] Thank you. When should a patient consider
minimally-invasive surgery instead of a traditional
open heart procedure? – Minimally-invasive
surgery, to define it, it is a surgery that is typically
done through the ribcage. Generally the incision is
anywhere from two to four inches in size versus the
traditional median sternotomy, or cutting the breastbone,
which is anywhere from six to eight inches
or ten inches in length. With minimally-invasive surgery there is a faster recovery, less pain. You can return to your
normal activity quicker, and for young women especially
we consider this option, obviously for cosmetic reasons, but for an individual to have
minimally-invasive surgery there has to be specific criteria. Usually it’s an isolated
mitral valve surgery or possibly two valve surgeries, or its a tricuspid valve
surgery or aortic valve surgery. Generally if it’s a very
complex complicated surgery or if we’re doing a re-do surgery, that is generally not an option. – [Interviewer] Which women’s heart health resources do you recommend? – The American Heart Association, the CDC, these are all traditional
places that people can go to. I personally love two sites, one is called The Physician’s Committee for
Responsible Medicine, pcrn.org and a second site that I love
is called nutritionfacts.org, great resources for anybody. – [Interviewer] Thank you so much for your time today Dr.
Nalluri, we’ve learned so much. – Thank you.