Skip to main content

Women and heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States. It accounts for one out of every three deaths each year. While it can be scary to know that sixty-four percent of women who die from sudden coronary heart disease had no history of symptoms, the good news is that eighty percent of cardiac events can be prevented!

Signs and symptoms

  • Chest pain, pressure, fullness
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, feeling lightheaded
  • As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are more likely to experience some of the other symptoms shown above as their presenting symptom(s).

Risk factors

The following risk factors are in YOUR control...

  • Tobacco use
  • Diabetes - blood sugar
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Know your family history
  • Stay active
  • Lose or manage weight
  • Eat healthy

The following risk factors are out of YOUR control...

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Heredity
  • Race
  • Previous stroke/heart attack

Female cardiovascular thoracic surgeon

The gender gap for physicians is rapidly closing. In fact, about half of all residents and fellows are women. Certain fields have a greater gender imbalance than others. Women outnumber men in several specialties, but the majority of surgeons are men. Did you know that only five percent of cardiothoracic surgeons are women?

Leesburg Regional Medical Center is proud to have Dr. Karen Thompson on staff. Dr. Thompson is a cardiothoracic surgeon with Leesburg-Ocala Heart Institute and is considered the area's heart valve expert. She graduated with honors from Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1998 and has more than twenty years of diverse experience, including extensive expertise in valve repair and replacement. Dr. Thompson utilizes a 'Heart Team Approach' which includes the collaboration of the cardiologist, cardiac surgeon, and anesthesiologist.