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Show 1168: What Should You Know About Women's Heart Health?

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We often assume that women's heart health is the same as men's, but there are some subtle and significant differences. What should you know?

When you think about heart health, you may not think about any gender differences in symptoms or treatment. Most doctors don’t, so why would patients? However, women don’t always experience the classic symptoms of crushing chest pain that we expect from tales of men’s heart attacks. Sometimes, they may be bothered with back or jaw pain, fatigue or nausea. Occasionally a woman might attribute her discomfort to heartburn and delay emergency treatment for a heart attack. Other symptoms might include shortness of breath, dizziness or even fainting. What should you know about women's heart health?

One Woman’s Story:

Robin Oliveira had experience as a critical care nurse, so she expected that she would recognize the signs of a heart attack if she had one. Instead, though, her heart attack caught her completely by surprise. Listen to her tell how it happened and how she survived.

Focus on Women's Heart Health:

Dr. Mark Menolascino is adamant that women are not just like men, especially when it comes to heart health. He points out the shortcomings of simple cholesterol numbers when it comes to predicting heart attacks and describes the 20+ measures he prefers to use instead.

Why is inflammation the main thing to consider, especially for women’s heart health? How do you detect it? More importantly, what can you do to control it? We discuss a healthful diet and active lifestyle as ways to keep our hearts healthy. Dr. Menolascino also describes the interventions he has found helpful and adopted from traditional Chinese medicine.

How Do We Assess Medications?

We need a metric to tell how much medications such as hormones or statins benefit women’s heart health. One way to evaluate is to consider the NNT (number needed to treat) and the NNH (number needed to harm). Dr. Menolascino describes the simple statistics behind these measurements. We conclude by considering how women can improve their own health.

This Week’s Guests:

Robin Oliveira is a former registered nurse who specialized in critical care, cardiac care, and Bone Marrow Transplant. She lives outside of Seattle, Washington on Cougar Mountain. She is an author and writer, whose most recent novel, Winter Sisters, is now out in paperback from Penguin Books.


Dr. Mark Menolascino has over 35 years of health care experience. He is Board Certified as an Internal Medicine Specialist, Board Certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner as well as Board Certified in Advanced Hormone Management and Anti-Aging Medicine. His medical knowledge is complemented by advanced training and clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine/acupuncture, Ayurvedic medicine and homeopathy. Dr. Menolascino is the author of Heart Solution for Women: A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.


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