Women’s Heart Health Resources

Too often, women are worried about the health of their family or others around them. Here’s what you need to know about taking care of your own heart.

“When women do better, we all do better.”
— Dr. Elizabeth Grey, cardiologist and MHIF researcher 

At the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF), we are committed to conducting innovative research to understand what risk factors and conditions are unique to women. We translate our learnings into best practices for health care providers and women of all ages. It’s time to empower women and their providers with the vital information needed to prevent and manage heart disease, so women of all ages can live healthy and happy lives.

Take a look at our timeline below to better understand women’s cardiovascular disease (CVD) cumulative risk throughout a lifetime. Then learn the steps you need to take to care for your heart. Read the information below and also check out our Women’s Heart Health YouTube Playlist.

Step #1: Understand Your Risk

Calculate Your Risk

More than 7 in 10 women do not know that they have heart disease until they have a heart attack. Use this online resource to calculate your risk for cardiovascular disease or ask your primary care provider to calculate your risk.

Step #2: Reduce Your Risk

Healthy Lifestyle Choices

There are several lifestyle modifications you can make to lower your risk for heart and vascular disease! Check out the infographic below and discuss your risk factors with your primary care physician.



Cholesterol and Women's Heart Health

Did you know that nearly one in every two American women have high or borderline high cholesterol? In fact, many people may not realize that having high cholesterol levels is more common in women than in men. No matter your gender, it’s important to make sure you control your cholesterol to help reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Read more

New 2018 Cholesterol Guidelines

Impacts of Pregnancy and Menopause

Pregnancy: Women face unique risk factors in pregnancy that increase their risk of cardiovasular disease both in the short and long term. Conditions such as pregnancy-induced hypertension, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes confer a two- to seven-fold risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Learn more 

Learn more about our BROACH initiative: The BROACH Initiative: Reaching More Young Women with Heart Disease Screenings

Menopause: Some things get better with age — going through menopause usually doesn’t make the list. As if hot flashes, night sweats and mood changes were not enough, complex hormonal changes that take place during menopause increase a woman’s risk for heart and vascular disease. This risk is exacerbated in women who experience menopause between ages 40-44. They are actually 40 percent more likely to suffer from heart and vascular disease, including having a heart attack, severe chest pain or stroke. Read more

Mental Health

One-third of all cardiovascular outcomes are related to mental health, whether it’s social isolation, anger, depression or anxiety, etc. Depression rates are three times higher in patients with heart disease, and women are much more likely to suffer from a mental health illness than men. That’s why it’s so important to take a proactive strategy to managing your mental health and well-being as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Read more from Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler here.

Step #3: Know Your Symptoms

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack for Women

We’ve all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground with a heart attack. In reality, most heart attacks are not that dramatic — they start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. The symptoms can be subtle and people aren’t sure what’s wrong. For women, the signs and symptoms are often less typical and sometimes confusing. 

Read more

Please do not hesitate to call 911 or go to the ER if you are experiencing any symptoms.

Watch the video below of Dr. Retu Saxena talking about women delaying treatment at one of our Hope, Health & Humor events.

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