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Women and Heart Disease


Most Important Weapon in Fight Against Heart Disease is Knowledge



February 3, 2015
Contact: Anthony Berry
Twitter: http://twitter.com/umassmemorial

Worcester, Mass., - Heart disease remains the number one cause of death for women in the United States according to the latest numbers. Cynthia Ennis, a cardiologist and director of the Women Heart Health program at UMass Memorial Medical Center says women should not focus on those numbers but rather on their own personal numbers. Dr. Ennis says knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers will go a long way towards determining if you are at risk and developing a strategy to become heart-healthy.

"In an ideal world every woman would have access to these numbers during their annual physical exam with their personal physician,” Ennis said. “Specifically we are looking at the cholesterol numbers, blood pressure and waist size. Being on the wrong-side of these numbers can indicate that a woman is at risk for a heart attack, diabetes and overall poor heart health.”

Targets women should shoot for include a blood-pressure level below 120/80. Numbers in the 140/90 range fall into the level of hypertension. Having a waist size of 35 inches also represents a danger level for women. If a woman’s waist size is equal to or more than 35 inches it increases her risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. As for cholesterol numbers there are three to focus on: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. Combined they give a woman her "lipid profile" score. The LDL score gets the most attention from doctors because any decrease in these numbers makes a difference in improving a woman’s heart health.

“Women at risk for heart disease based on these numbers should have a conversation with their doctors on how to lower these risks,” said Dr. Ennis. “There are steps we can take each day to begin to take control of our heart-health. These can be as simple as beginning an exercise regimen, changing our dietary habits and quitting smoking. Knowing your numbers is half the battle. Enacting a plan along with your doctor to address them completes the process.”

Dr. Ennis says women should consult their physician before beginning any exercise program. For more information on women and heart disease visit the UMass Memorial Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence website. February is American Heart Month.


About UMass Memorial Health Care

UMass Memorial Health Care is the largest not-for-profit health care system in Central Massachusetts with more than 12,000 employees and 1,600 physicians, many of whom are members of UMass Memorial Medical Group. Our member hospitals and entities include Clinton Hospital, HealthAlliance Hospital, Marlborough Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center and Community Healthlink, our behavioral health agency. With our teaching and research partner, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, our extensive primary care network and our cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular, and musculoskeletal programs, UMass Memorial delivers safe, high-quality and compassionate care.


Call 855-UMASS-MD (855-862-7763) for all your health care needs. 


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