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Taking Women’s Health to Heart

Did you know? Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing more deaths in women than all cancers combined.

At Hoag’s Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, we want to empower the women in our community to take charge of their heart health and look out for the risk factors, warning signs or symptoms. Because keeping women heart-healthy first starts with knowledge.

“One of our goals in empowering women is to understand their individual risk factors for heart disease.” said Dipti Itchhaporia, M.D., M.A.C.C., F.A.H.A., F.E.S.C., Eric & Sheila Samson Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Health and medical director of congestive heart failure and telemetry programs.

“We are a national leader in introducing advanced technology and expertise to correct heart and vascular issues, but the most powerful weapon we have against heart disease is prevention,” Dr. Itchhaporia said. “Educating women about their unique risks and symptoms can help them avoid developing heart disease.”

“While women tend to know their bodies, they don’t always think to pursue concerns about their hearts.” said Gennie Yee, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at Hoag.

Risk factors for heart disease in women include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of heart disease
  • A history of gestational diabetes, gestational hypertension, and eclampsia

“At Hoag, we pride ourselves on spending the time to ask the right questions. Because everything is related to heart health, from lifestyle choices to family history, it is critically important to take a woman’s whole-person health into account,” Dr. Yee said. “We do that, and it makes all the difference.”

Helping people understand their risk of heart disease – and recognizing if they are experiencing a heart attack is also important information to know.

Besides the classic chest pain, women are more likely to have atypical symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath, pain and jaw pain
  • Fainting, nausea, sweating, indigestion
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pain or pressure in the lower chest or upper abdomen

“Women can lower their risk of heart disease by not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and by exercising regularly,” Dr. Itchhaporia said. “Reducing risk starts with education. Talk to your doctor to assess your risk and to make sure you’re on the path to better health.”

To learn more about the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, visit

Learn more from Dr. Dipti Itchhaporia about the biggest misconceptions of women’s heart disease by visiting