Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women (and men) in the US, accounting for one in every four deaths, however, among women, only 50% recognize heart disease is their #1 killer. Additionally, almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. (February is American Heart Month.)
During this 27 minute podcast Dr. Bennett discusses the prevalence of heart disease particularly among women and what are primary prevention measures - that if achieved cardio vascular disease (CVD) could be reduced by over 80 percent. She explains what accounts for women's limited awareness of CVD, the benefits of cardio protective drugs and statins (to lower cholesterol), female versus male symptomology and the lack of adequate CVD research specific to women. Dr. Bennett notes the varying reasons why cardio rehabilitation, despite its substantial benefits, is woefully under utilized at rates under 30 percent and what can be done to improve patient utilization or participation. The interview concludes with bottom line recommendations to avoid CVD and mention of federal programming efforts to reduce CVD via the "Million Hearts" campaign (www.millionhearts.hhs.gov) as well as related work by the American Heart Association (www.heart.org) and WomenHeart (www.womenheart.org). (The interview failed to discuss or note the association between CVD and mental health or mental illness. For example, depression even in mild forms can increase CVD risk and that depression is twice as common in women as in men.)
Dr. Bennett is a Consulting Cardiologist of the Women's Heart Program at the MedStar Heart Institute. She is the past Director of the Women's Heart Program at The George Washington University Hospital. Prior to that she was an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiology at the U. of Maryland. Dr. Bennett is on the Scientific Advisory Board of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women and Heart Disease, served as Chair for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute's Advisory Panel on Women and Heart Disease, she is Past-President of the Greater Washington Area American Heart Association (AHA), a national spokesperson for the AHA and is the author of numerous clinical publications. She earned her MD degree from the Eastern Virginia Medical School.