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Article contributed by the Department of Cardiology from National Heart Centre Singapore (NHCS), a member of the SingHealth group.

Diagnosis and treatment for heart disease in women

Women should go for regular screenings to check for potential risk factors such as diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels or high blood pressure.

Tests such as an electrocardiogram; cardiac stress test which can include an ultrasound or nuclear imaging test; computed tomography scan (CT scan), and a coronary a​ngiogram may be carried out to detect heart disease.

Patients who are diagnosed with heart disease will be advised to take medication to relieve their symptoms and to reduce their risk of future heart attacks.

Those with more severe disease m​​ay have to undergo treatment to “unblock” their arteries either by placing metal stents (“spring-like” devices that act as “scaffolding”) in their coronary arteries, or they may have to undergo coronary artery bypass grafting surgery (CABG).

Preventing heart disease in women

Heart disease is preventable, and women should take action to reduce their risk of heart disease by:

  1. ​Exercising regularly
  2. Not smoking
  3. Eating healthily and maintaining a normal weight
  4. Getting their blood pressure and cholesterol levels c​hecked
  5. Controlling diabetes​​
  6. ​Fo​llowing the doctor’s advice and taking their medication regularly.

These protective lifestyle factors have been shown to markedly decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease for women in Singapore. Women who already suffer from cardiovascular disease can lower their risk of having a heart attack by up to 80 per cent by leading a healthy lifestyle.

See page 1 for the s​ymptoms and risk factors of heart attacks in women​.


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