Published on February 19th, 2017 | by David Morales0
Health Watch: Getting Heart Smart with Women Heart
February is dedicated to raising awareness about heart health and increasing knowledge about how to prevent heart disease. Joining the Hype magazine to discuss heart failure and how it impacts women is Dr. Eileen Hsich, Director of the Women’s Heart Failure Clinic at the Cleveland Clinic and Chair of the Women Heart Scientific Advisory Council. There are common misconceptions about heart failure and many signs and symptoms for recognizing the various ways to manage. Nearly 5.7 million Americans live with heart disease, and about 55 percent are women. Research suggests that women experience the condition differently than men. So, get the right information about the dangers of heart disease and get back on track to better heart health by watching our short video interview here!
What are some misconceptions about heart failure?
There are three misconceptions that I wanted to address. The first is that patients often feel that they are dying when they hear this disease because the word heart failure says “failure” right there. That is not true! In fact, most patients improve with medical therapy and one out of every four fully recover.
The second misconception is that women often feel like they are alone! They don’t know that anyone else has that disease. 55 percent of patients out there are women. So, It affects women and men nearly equally.
The third misconception is that people refer to it as one disease, just like they refer to caner as one disease. Yet we know there are many different types of cancer, just as there are many different causes of heart failure. There is high blood pressure, diabetes and heart attacks. You can get heart failure with a weak heart or a strong heart. All these factors make a difference.
If you are given a heart failure diagnosis, what should you do next?
The first thing you should do is seek medical attention. I think that is really important because our medicines actually have enabled people to improve. We have two new drugs out there that have been recently approved and incorporated into our guidelines. Both drugs have been found to have actually reduced hospitalizations. Another combination pill can also prevent death due to heart disease!
The second thing to do is know that you are not alone! Women often get depressed when they are told they have a heart condition and they need emotional support. I’m very lucky to be a part of a group called Women Heart, which is a patient advocacy group that provides educational material on all types of heart disease, as well as emotional support. That support could be through peer group, one-on-one or virtual, such as online or telephone.
There are new clinical treatment guidelines for managing heart failure. Can you tell us about that?
For us it is an exciting time because we haven’t had new drugs for a long time! So two new drugs were recently FDA approved and incorporated into our guidelines. One of the medications reduces heart rate and the other is a combination pill that reduces blood pressure. Both were found to reduce blood pressure hospitalizations, but the combination pill was also found to reduce death due to heart disease.
Where can our readers go if they want additional information?
You can go to womenheart.org.