It's Time to be Demanding, Stand Up for Your Heart

Older women dancing in a line

You should have a low threshold for calling your doctor, and if your doctor thinks you’re calling too often, get another doctor.”

That’s the advice of Jeffrey Bender, M.D., director of the Yale Cardiovascular Research Center and a longtime AHA volunteer.

Dr. Bender recently presented “At the Heart of the Matter: How to Attack Women’s Public Health Enemy #1” at One-Day Medical School at the Yale School of Medicine, a collaboration with Fab Over Fifty for women 45 and older. Five esteemed Yale physicians and professors shared the latest on heart disease, breast cancer, bone health, bladder issues and hormones.

Important takeaways: We can’t let fear, embarrassment or any other reason hold us back from seeking lifesaving care. It’s time to be demanding when it comes to women’s heart health and to ask others to do the same.

One in three women is living with some form of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Bender highlighted some of the well-known risk factors, including obesity, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. He also talked about emerging risk factors like pregnancy, depression and menopause.

It’s no secret that women are unique in every sense of the word. Compared to men, we are different at the molecular and cellular levels. That’s why the way we experience symptoms and respond to treatments is also unique. Yet, as Dr. Bender also emphasized, we continue to be underrepresented in clinical trials.

And it doesn’t take an expert to remind you that as women, we tend to put others ahead of ourselves. We need to flip that script. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of our loved ones. Before we take off in airplanes, we’re always advised to put our oxygen mask on first so that we may help others after. Your heart health is no different.

Go Red is always learning, listening and staying on top of all things heart health and healthy living to help you live your best, healthiest life. You can get more information on the summit. The AHA recently released updated guidelines on cholesterol and physical activity that are critical for all women to know. And, as always, you can check out the latest science and resources at Go Red for Women.