Heart & Vascular

Womens Heart Disease

Dedicated to the unique needs of women, the St. Luke's Heart and Vascular Women’s Heart Center is dedicated to specifically serve women who have heart disease, are at risk for heart disease or want guidance for its prevention.

The most common cause of heart disease in women is narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart itself. Also known as heart disease. The older women get, the more likely they are to get heart disease. But women of all ages should be concerned about heart disease.

Living With

A warning for women with heart disease.

It’s easy to think that heart problems are men’s problems, because it’s what you mostly hear about. Even those medical ads on television seem to focus on men’s heart issues. Be aware: heart disease kills women, too. Read more.

You are one of the estimated 44 million women in the US affected by heart disease. What do you do now?

That alarming statistic from the American Heart Association shows that you are in a large group — and it is also a wake-up call for you to take charge of the things that affect your overall health. Read more.

90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease.

The numbers the American Heart Association (AHA) cites are compelling. One woman dies of heart disease or stroke approximately every 80 seconds. Cardiovascular disease and stroke cause one in three deaths a year. The good news? According to the AHA, 80 percent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by lifestyle change and education. Read more.

The Top Five Questions to Ask Your Cardiologist.

Perhaps you’re going to the cardiologist because your physician recommended it. Or maybe you have a family history of heart disease, and you want to stay on top of it. Or you have high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, or both... Read more.

Know This: Heart Attacks in Women May NOT Look Like What You'd Expect.

You may have heard this before: a heart attack in a woman may not look or feel like the “classic” heart attack. So, what does it look and feel like? Read more.



Know the symptoms

Women often do not recognize they are experiencing a major cardiac event. Only 60 percent of women suffering a heart attack experience chest pain. Other common symptoms include:

  • Chest pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Light-headedness
  • Indigestion, nausea or vomiting
  • Pain in arms, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Cold sweats, squeezing, or discomfort

Know Your Risk

Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Between the ages of 45 and 64, one in nine women develops cardiovascular disease. While the traditional risk factors are the same for men and women – family history of early heart disease, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, sedentary life style – additional risk factors for women include:

  • Past complications in pregnancy
    • Preeclampsia
    • Eclampsia
  • Auto-immune disorders
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Lupus
  • Menopause before age 45
  • Migraines with aura


Treatment Options

While heart disease cannot be cured, symptoms can be managed with the following treatments:

  • Healthy lifestyle choices
  • Medication, such as beta blockers or diuretics, to prevent clots from forming and to prevent stroke.
  • Surgeries to improve symptoms of heart failure may include:
    • Heart valve repair or replacement
    • Pacemaker insertion
    • Correction of congenital heart defects
    • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • For advanced heart failure, patients may be given the option for an implantable ventricular assist device (VAD)


Exams and Tests

Along with a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures to determine if angina is related to a serious heart condition may include:

  • A chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
  • Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE or stress echo)
  • Coronary angiogram and cardiac catheterization
  • Angioplasty or stenting, may be performed immediately to clear the arteries


Our Team