Women And Heart Disease: “Knowing Your Risk”

November 7, 2023
Celeste King-Dorsett


  1. Heart disease is the biggest killer of women worldwide, and is the #1 killer of women in the Bahamas.
  2. Cardiovascular disease is by far the biggest killer of women, with one woman having died every minute from the disease in the United States.      
  3. Cardiovascular disease include: Coronary heart disease inclusive of myocardial infarction, angina, heart failure and coronary death. Cerebrovascular disease such as cerebrovascular vascular accident (Stroke/CVA) or Transischemic attacks (TIA). Peripheral artery disease of claudication and Aortic disease like atherosclerosis, transthoracic or abdominal aneurysm.
  4. Women tend to have more co-morbidities then men and usually wait some time before seeking medical attention.
  5. Women are sometimes referred late for appropriate testing or treatment and those with myocardial infarctions are more likely to have complications and increased mortality.


Some of the factors affecting women are:

Dyslipidemia, diabetes, over the age of 55 years, family history of premature coronary artery disease, hypertension, smoking, peripheral artery disease, obesity, menopause, metabolic syndrome, sedentary lifestyle, autoimmune disease, chronic kidney disease and pregnancy related disorders.


Women may present with chest pain, pressure or discomfort, unusual upper body discomfort, shortness of breath at rest or on exertion, cold sweats or diaphoresis, fatigue, lightheadedness or sudden dizziness, palpitations or nausea and vomiting.

As women, let’s invest in our health. Should we experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention and advice from your physician. He/she will be able to make an assessment and establish your treatment, which may include test such as an echocardiogram, coronary calcium score, exercise stress test and blood test.

If you are on medication, your physician may make adjustments to ensure optimum stabilization of your symptoms.                


Be diligent and consistent with taking your medication. Monitor your blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol levels. Avoid alcohol or smoking. Eat foods rich in fiber such as grains, lentils, vegetables and grains. Eat fish which has omega 3 fatty acids. Use less salt and sugars and decrease your carbohydrate intake. Become physically active and exercise such as brisk walking for 30-50 minutes at least 5 times/week. If you have not been physically active, please discuss with your doctor and always start of gradually, intensifying as you progress and allow for proper warm up and cool down phases. Find time for rest and relaxation and avoid stress as much as possible.  These will help to improve your overall health and your heart will love you for it.

Celeste King-Dorsett
Cardiac Care Coordinator The Bahamas Heart Center

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