7 Heart Disease Risk Factors for Women Only - Virtua Article

7 Heart Disease Risk Factors For Women Only

There are 7 risk factors for heart disease that only women experience. Talk to your doctor if you’ve had even one of the following issues. Your doctor can help you put a plan in place to lower your risk.

Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia

When pregnant, your body pumps more blood to support both you and your baby. Pre-eclampsia is a sign that your body is having a hard time dealing with this type of stress, which can be an indicator for heart disease later in life.           

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that begins, or is first discovered, during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes increases risk of diabetes, consequently increasing your risk of heart disease later in life.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

When you have polycystic ovarian syndrome, your ovaries create cysts and higher glucose levels. This increases your risk for gestational diabetes and heart disease later in life.

Preterm Birth of Child

Preterm birth (a month or more before due date) is considered a failed stress test of your body and can be an indicator that you’ll be at greater risk for heart disease later in life.

Menopause

As a woman enters menopause, her estrogen levels decrease, which can make her 2 to 3 times more likely to develop heart disease.

Postpartum Cardiomyopathy

While rare, postpartum cardiomyopathy is a type of heart failure that most commonly occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy or right after delivery. It occurs due to an unexplained weakening of the heart muscle. With each child, your risk for long-term heart disease increases.

Breast Cancer Therapy

Radiation and chemotherapy can negatively affect the heart. Radiation over the left breast can cause plaque to build up in the arteries limiting blood flow. Chemotherapy can weaken the heart muscle increasing risk of heart failure.

It’s important for your heart health to completely understand these risks. If you have had any of these conditions or treatments, talk to your doctor about your chances of developing heart disease and the potential prevention or treatments. 

Updated October 13, 2016

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