Combating Women's Heart Disease
The Mount Sinai Heart Women's Cardiac Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) Program addresses the needs of female heart disease patients. Women in the program receive comprehensive physical examinations that include heart-health risk assessments, detailed information about risk factors, and personalized preventive treatment plans.
Heart disease symptoms can manifest differently in women than in men, says Women's CARE Director Mary Ann McLaughlin, MD, Associate Professor of Cardiology and Medical Director of the Cardiac Health Program. For example, many women don't experience the chest pressure that men do. Instead, they feel unusually tired, something many brush off as a part of daily life rather than the sign of an oncoming heart attack.
"Women also feel pressure in the middle of their back, between their shoulder blades, especially walking up a hill," says Dr. McLaughlin. "They are more likely to break out in cold sweats and have nausea, too."
Women don't get the same blockages in the large arteries that men do, and are more likely to get small-vessel disease instead.
"We have diagnostic capabilities that measure the minute changes that are more prevalent in women," Dr. McLaughlin says.
Patients undergo state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, including echocardiography and stress testing. They also can participate in the Mount Sinai Heart Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Program.
Women's CARE pursues research to improve cardiovascular care for women. Our researchers are involved in studies on gender differences in congestive heart failure and hypertension, and our doctors raise awareness through community outreach.
"Mount Sinai cardiologists are well versed and very knowledgeable about the specific risks for women," says Dr. McLaughlin. "It's important to understand that heart disease is also a woman's disease."