Issue No. 17
The Truth About Men, Women and Heart DiseaseDate: July 18, 2012
When it comes to matters of the heart—that is, heart attacks—cardiologists are serious about the distinctions between the sexes. For example, did you know men are more likely to develop coronary artery disease that can lead to a heart attack in their 60s, about 10 years earlier than women?
Many experts believe this is partly related to the protective effects of estrogen in women before menopause; however, research at Johns Hopkins suggests that there may be other factors that explain this gender difference, says Pamela Ouyang, M.D., a cardiologist at the Johns Hopkins Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center.
The cardiac experts at Johns Hopkins emphasize preventing heart attacks—for men and women—before they happen by identifying and reducing risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Treatment may include quitting smoking and increasing exercise and, if necessary, undergoing angioplasty, which is the procedure to unblock a blood vessel, especially a coronary artery, to restore blood flow to the heart.
After a heart attack, particularly if it’s treated with angioplasty, similar measures can help prevent a recurrence and return people to normal activity.
“Our cardiac rehabilitation programs provide the exercise and educational resources to reduce risk factors after a heart attack,” Ouyang says.
Participate in a Clinical Trial
If you’ve had a heart attack in the past four years, Johns Hopkins is seeking male and female participants for a clinical trial to evaluate whether a medicine may prevent a heart attack from developing. Call 410-550-4278 for more details.