Women's Heart Disease Symp­toms

Wellness Update - - Meet Our Doctors -

"It's im­por­tant for women to un­der­stand that heart disease is also a woman's disease," says Mary Ann McLaugh­lin, MD, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Car­di­ol­ogy and Di­rec­tor of the Women's Car­diac As­sess­ment and Risk Eval­u­a­tion (CARE) Pro­gram at Mount Si­nai Heart. "The warn­ing signs of heart at­tack in women can dif­fer from the clas­sic ones, and Mount Si­nai car­di­ol­o­gists are well versed and very knowl­edge­able about the spe­cific risks for women." As part of her mis­sion to help women take heart disease se­ri­ously, Dr. McLaugh­lin gives talks at mid­dle schools and nurs­ing homes, coun­try clubs and churches. She par­tic­i­pates in health fairs, where she and her col­leagues check blood pres­sure, mea­sure body mass in­dex, and of­fer cook­ing demon­stra­tions. Dr. McLaugh­lin has been a reg­u­lar on tele­vi­sion shows such as "Martha" and is widely quoted in news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines.

De­tec­tion and Di­ag­no­sis of Coronary Artery Disease

It's easy to rec­og­nize coronary artery disease af­ter some­one suf­fers a heart at­tack. It is more chal­leng­ing to de­tect it in peo­ple who show no signs or symp­toms of heart disease. "The whole par­a­digm is shift­ing away from tar­get­ing the per­son who is at the edge of the cliff, and to­ward iden­ti­fy­ing the pa­tient well be­fore he reaches that edge," says Jonathan L. Halperin, MD, Pro­fes­sor of Car­di­ol­ogy and Di­rec­tor of Clin­i­cal Car­di­ol­ogy Ser­vices at Mount Si­nai Heart. "It's not only be­ing able to iden­tify the disease when it is there, but iden­ti­fy­ing it be­fore it is threat­en­ing." Mount Si­nai's car­di­ol­o­gists use hands-on meth­ods to iden­tify heart disease. Valentin Fuster, MD, PhD, Pro­fes­sor of Car­di­ol­ogy and Di­rec­tor of Mount Si­nai Heart, some­times asks pa­tients in his of­fice to do a se­ries of sit-ups, then lis­tens to their hearts. Dr. Fuster's di­ag­nos­tic skills, honed by decades of ex­pe­ri­ence, en­able him to tell just by hear­ing the heart's sounds af­ter ex­er­tion whether blocked ar­ter­ies have caused the ves­sel walls to stiffen. "For ev­ery pa­tient, there is an ap­pro­pri­ate test." says An­napoorna Kini, MD, As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Car­di­ol­ogy and As­so­ciate Di­rec­tor of the Mount Si­nai Car­diac Catheter­i­za­tion Lab. "If one test is not giv­ing us the an­swer we're look­ing for, we al­ways have an­other, whether it's an an­giogram, ul­tra­sound, or check­ing the pres­sure gra­di­ent in the ar­ter­ies. We have ev­ery­thing we need."

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